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Okinawa Assembly Passes Resolution Censuring General

Date Posted: 2000-10-06

NAHA, Okinawa Pref. (Kyodo) The Naha Municipal Assembly has unanimously adopted a resolution censuring a U.S. Marine Corps general's refusal to meet its representatives over a molestation incident involving a serviceman under his command. Lt. Gen. Earl Hailston, who commands the U.S. Marines in Okinawa, has declined to meet assembly members who wanted to hand him a resolution condemning the molestation of a 14-year-old Okinawan girl by a 19-year-old Marine stationed in the prefecture. The young soldier has since been court-martialed and sentenced to two years in the brig.

"It is quite regrettable that (Hailston) has refused to even meet us," says the resolution, adopted Wednesday. "His attitude has given us the impression that he has turned a blind eye and ignored the effects of the incident. "The rejection has given us concern about the future and doubts about (a U.S.) pledge to prevent recurrences of such incidents. We cannot tolerate this."

The 19-year-old soldier was arrested for molesting the junior high school girl. He was found in her bed after breaking into her home after a night of drinking in the city of Okinawa on July 3. He was court-martialed earlier this month. The incident sparked an uproar in Okinawa, fanning antipathy toward the U.S. military. It rekindled memories of the rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by three U.S. servicemen in September 1995, which unleashed a wave of local anger.

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