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AAFES denies all mistreatment charges in cases of two women

Date Posted: 2004-07-10

A senior Army and Air Force Exchange Service official is denying that the Kadena BX manager mistreated at least two female employees several months ago.

Bob Little is telling Stars and Stripes newspaper that the incidents didn’t happen as reported, and that no reprimands have been issued as a result of the alleged charges.

Two women, one of them pregnant, had been involved in May incidents at the BX, according to press reports and the local base workers association, the All Japan Garrison Forces Labor Union. The women were forced to work despite asking to be released because of ill health. One of the women remains hospitalized partially paralyzed, while the other has been released.

The labor union, which has 2,600 employees on Okinawa, said the manager forced employees, including the two women, to work late at night and then return early the following morning. The AAFES official denies the charge, saying “there is no evidence that supports these allegations.” He also denies that the manager was reprimanded, as had been reported earlier.

The incidents are not going away, though, as local prefecture assemblymen are demanding answers. The Constitution Guardian Network is asking the Defense Facilities Administration Bureau to continue its investigation and to push for improved working conditions within the AAFES system. Spokesman Shusei Arakawa wants to know what the AAFES people are doing.

A labor management officer, Eiryo Tamai, says the investigation is ongoing, and that based on results, requests for improvements from the Americans will be made.

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