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Politicians assail trespassing GI’s lack of discipline

Date Posted: 2008-03-03

Airman Wesley Taft is the latest American serviceman to stir the wrath of Okinawa City Mayor, thanks to his arrest Sunday on charges of breaking into a local contractors association office near Camp Shields.
Saying she was at a “total loss for words”, Mitsuko Tomon declared “I was astonished by this guy’s action making a forcible entry by breaking in the door.” Taft was apprehended early Sunday morning after he crawled through a fence to get off Camp Shields, then used a metal bar to break into offices belonging to the Okinawa Contractors Association. The Kadena-based airman, who arresting police say had been drinking, admitted committing the crime.
Okinawa City Police responding to a break-in alarm call from a security guard found the American enlisted man several hundred meters from the building. All SOFA status personnel are supposed to be in lockdown, a restriction to military bases ordered by Marine Corps Lieutenant General Richard Zilmer nearly two weeks ago, and police quickly took Taft into custody.
Tomon is demanding answers on “Does the military know how to educate its people, and what are the top people working on to prevent a relapse in behavior?” She expressed irritation that military personnel don’t know what the lockdown means. “I am very doubtful about the lockdown working,” she said. “I don’t really understand them.”
The vice governor, Zenki Nakazato, called the young GI’s actions “something wrong with his roots of human nature.” “It’s a matter for the United States of America,” Zenki Nakazato said. “It is shame for America.” Nakazato says he doesn’t condemn all Americans, but is questioning “how strictly the military enforces its rules and lockdown limits, and why are there people who break the rules and controls.”
Hiro Outa, chairman of Okinawa City’s Crime Prevention Association, called upon “military people to learn about being a human being, and have moral education ethics.” Outa noted the military had promised to apply more controls to its people, “giving more strict punishments, but they are learning something.” Tetsunaga Tamayose was equally blunt. “We can’t believe them anymore. What is going to happen next?”, the Prefecture Children’s Training Communication Committee chairman asks. “They need more strict punishment. Otherwise, they will never learn.”

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