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U.S. Navy tells its leaders to work harder on preventing sexual assaults

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Yes... stop sexually assaulting people please. And Raping them too.

In fact, please stop generally assaulting people (for example, 13 year old boys) and throwing yourselves blazing drunk out of windows too.

Ridiculous, overly vague statement coming from those at the top. Stricter punishments and better control of their soldiers is what is needed.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

Time to relocate all Navy dudes to Thailand ASAP !!

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

Just get the heck off the island. Isolation is the solution. Use the Osprey's to evacuate as soon as possible.

-15 ( +2 / -17 )

Our warfighting strategy relies in part on the willingness of host nations

There you have it, straight from the top. Who was arguing that the military in Japan, Okinawa, or any foreign country, are not GUESTS?

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

I think it's necessary to maintain a little perspective here. This was one incident amongst hundreds of thousands of soldiers (remember that the base population isn't fixed, there are troops coming and going all the time, so the standing garrison isn't a fair way to calculate criminality).

That being said it was an atrocious incident and even one is too many. I think the proposed "buddy system" is a good start, and the COs should be clear that collective discipline will be the norm, i.e. if your buddy messes up then you're BOTH going to the brig.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

In this rape they did it on a buddy system apparently.

The way to stop this is to not recruit criminals into the military. The numbers of recruits who are petty criminals and sometimes felons have shot way up during the bush failed wars. In some cases half the GIs have legal problems, or even worse mental problems. You cannot educate criminal idiots and unfortunately a big chuck of the GIs in Japan fit that description. Doubt this, look up the pentagons stats on percents of GIs recruited with crimes in their records or what is worse the crimes that are committed by them while in the military.

Military bases now are just like minimum security prisons.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

the ploblem has doutful point, why little girl exits out of house so that night?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

what little girl?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

the victim of the rape,

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Okaji: In her twenties is not a little girl, but a mature woman. Or how do you think?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

exit what house?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

oh ,i missed, i can wright english little, maybe i missed"existed" and, i didnt know not little girl,

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

and" her house"

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Military bases now are just like minimum security prisons.

Really Zurcromium? Have you even been aboard one of our bases in this century? Somehow I doubt it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

These are just obligatory statements made by top leadership because it's expected of them and don't accomplish much. Hell the Navy just executed months of intense (and endless) sexual assault awareness training mandatory for all hands earlier this year. Hate to say it but it's as good as it's going to get. There have indeed been a small number of high-profile incidents these past few months, a noticeable spike so to speak, but taking into account the past ten years the crime rate for service members stationed in Japan has been negligible; at worst it's been averaging out to one or two violent crimes every five or so years. The crime rate will never be 0%, ever, for any subgroup of the population be they military or civilian, foreigners or Japanese, and those expecting it to be are not rational. Cracking down further and punishing the 99+% of the innocent Sailors and Marines will simply be counterproductive.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Eunuch soldiers?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Okaji: I can understand your English :) . However, the girl was in her 20s. Maybe she was returning from a late night job or returning home from a friend's house. Either way, that is no reason for her to be raped.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

they need to give a new speech that centers on preventing ALL assaults

1 ( +2 / -1 )

For all those who want the military out of Okinawa, do you think the economy there would survive? The military makes up a great portion of income for business there.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

And if the military were to be relocated from Okinawa how long do you think it would be before the local government would not want them back once the businesses there start going out of business and start complaining?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

CORRECTION: would want them back...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The military makes up a great portion of income for business there.

LoL! You best check that

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I have. The military brings a lot of income to business there.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

These are just obligatory statements made by top leadership because it's expected of them

Really? So you would have no problem telling that to the top brass?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

dmullard, yeah, okay. What ever makes you happy. No sense in stating facts if you did your homework.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

For all those who want the military out of Okinawa, do you think the economy there would survive? The military makes up a great portion of income for business there.

Let this one go. Its been done to death on this site.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

US Navy officials need a publicity photo of them giving the "fight" clenched fist gesture, or else their efforts to work harder at stopping rape means nothing in Japan.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No one suggests moving the sailors and marines to China yet ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Rape will always happen. Men are men everywhere

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hate to say it but it's as good as it's going to get.

Pathetic

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

“All hands must understand that liberty is a mission with strategic implications.

"Liberty" is not a mission. It is a concept. To say that US is fighting for the "liberty" of all those it attacks or occupies is a barefaced lie.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

taro67 You may say it's pathetic but that's reality. It doesn't mean that the Navy and the other branches will implement additional training, programs, and restrictions, some effective some not, but nothing that can be done will ever guarantee zero incidents and a 0% crime/incident rate. Aside from completely removing the bases from Japan, which obviously is not an option, what do you believe will do the trick? What's pathetic is the expectation of people like you for there to be zero incidents involving SOFA personnel, a standard that isn't expected of any other sub-category of the population. We go years without a case of rape or sexual assault but the minute one is reported it's decried as an epidemic and a clear reason to hate the military stationed here. It's unreasonable.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

USN, what is unreasonable is out of all the land mass combined in all of Japan, Okinawa is left to deal with the majority of the bases, to include the crimes that comes with them. Maybe closing all the bases is not an option, but a reduction of bases would quiet the Okinawans for the most part.

Reading up on different issues related to the bases in Japan, I have concluded that the Okinawans are not Anti-Military for the most part. They are however tired of the constant crimes, to include the petty crimes that have come with the bases. There are so many variables that fuel the anger of the Okinawans, Not just the rape and the Osprey issues.

I also came across the Koza riots news story about a military person running over an Okinawan and was ruled innocent in the case. When you get down in to the real issues that anger the Okinawans you can't help but to feel for them. At the same time, understanding

0 ( +1 / -1 )

USNinJapan2 Nov. 12, 2012 - 05:24PM JST

If the goal is not 100% elimination, then the US is not trying hard enough. Why should the Japanese people accept anything less? To be sure, the military chain of command in Japan would not appreciate a member of the military, a representative of the US people, and an ambassador of the US government to make such a public statement.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

sorry, accidentally pressed the submit button.

At the same time, you will come to understand that the majority of Okinawans highly respect the military on the island. Its complicated. However, if you were to look at the whole picture, while paying attention to the minute details, it goes way deeper then the crimes, the Osprey, the bases, and any other topics, issue by issue.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

taro67 The goal, USFJ's goal IS 100% elimination. Your half of the bargain, and a reasonable one at that, is to realize and accept that this is an unattainable goal and give credit where credit is due to the military leadership for limiting the number of incidents over time to what it has been. It would be nice if the general crime rate in Japan ever got as low as that of the SOFA population but it never will nor will it ever get anywhere close to zero.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

oh ,i missed, i can wright english little, maybe i missed"existed" and, i didnt know not little girl,

In this particular case, the woman aged in her 20's was returning home early in the morning and was followed by these two sailors. They "sexually assaulted" her and in the process injured her neck. Some reports say "rape" while others just say "sexually assaulted". Considering rape IS the most serious form of sexual assault, I tend to believe that "rape" is the more accurate description of what happened. (You don't follow someone home just to grope them).

Regardless, USNinJapan pretty much nailed it on the head. The Navy is already doing everything they can short of locking everyone up at night and that "solution" would be gross overkill. The number of servicemen who are prone to rape is very small and as they are caught, they are removed. The problem is that NO ONE has a test that can say, "This guy will develop rape tendencies two years after enlisting." Do the Japanese have such a test? The obvious answer is "No", otherwise they'd be using it to filter out all the pervs in the J-cops ranks.

The admirals have it tough. The sexual assault problem is real, but they've done everything they can think of to mitigate it. All that's left is pronouncements of dubious effectiveness. The "buddy system" would not have worked in this case because the buddies were co-perpetrators.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

USNinJapan2 Nov. 12, 2012 - 09:56PM JST

The Okinawans people have no "half of the bargain." Such a bargain would mean a general acceptance of rapes and assaults committed by foreign troops on the local public, something that would not be accepted by Americans if the roles were reversed. The general crime rate in Japan - much lower than in the US - is irrelevant to the actions of US military on Okinawa or anywhere in Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Taro, nobody is suggesting that the Japanese should accept it. Every case is serious and the last thing anybody wants you to say is "sho ga nai" when someone is raped by ANYBODY regardless of nationality. What we read here, however, seems to imply that we actively seek out criminals and ship them to Okinawa. That's absolutely not the case. As of the end of October, there were 318,406 active duty personnel and 108,718 Reserve personnel in the U.S. Navy. The article reports that so far this year there have been 496 sexual assaults attributed to navy personnel worldwide. That means one-tenth of one percent of the navy's personnel were involved in sexual assaults. If you can come up with a way to reduce that number further, we're all ears.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If you can come up with a way to reduce that number further, we're all ears.

Okay, I'll give a few. The military can start by dealing in a effective manner with the culture of alcohol that exists in the military, particularly when it comes to those poor, lonely sailors and troops who are stationed overseas. Any incident of drunkenness or being involved in a disturbance off the base is a cause for losing the privilege of leaving the base regardless of whether a Japanese was involved. Next, you can make new troops and sailors earn liberty through quarantine and education before letting them loose on the local public. That would eliminate transients causing problems like the last assault case.

For Japan, troops should be educated that the Japanese are not a conquered enemy but a trusted and respected ally. Many in the US - and one has to assume, the military - retain the notion that the Japanese should still pay for Pearl Harbor or that they are conquered foe with few rights. No one assigned to Japan should have this mindset.

Then more education that explains that not all Japanese girls and women are prostitutes or can't wait to have sex with foreign men in uniform, despite what sailors coming off of shore leave might tell them (brag about) or that they read about online. Such talk in the military should be reason for reassignment elsewhere. It is telling that prostitution is allowed near military bases not to provide entertainment for the troops but as a means to protect the local girls and women from assault by troops.

More...unit punishment, including the CO, for the acts of individuals, no off-base living for single troops, more restrictive passes for off-base activities, and an effective system to monitor the off-base, off-hours activities of troops. Okinawa is the home of a mission for the US military, not a frat-party resort. All members of the military should have this drilled into them to the point that they would rather be home than posted here unless they deem it an honor to be stationed here among a very generous Okinawan public and treat it and the people as such.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

The article reports that so far this year there have been 496 sexual assaults attributed to navy personnel worldwide. That means one-tenth of one percent of the navy's personnel were involved in sexual assaults. If you can come up with a way to reduce that number further, we're all ears.

Yes, and it also represents 496 women, their families, and the surrounding communities that do not hold the US military in the highest esteem. One would think that the military would not want to keep creating so many people worldwide each year who lose respect for the US and don't want them around. Look how it has affected Okinawa after 67 years. Statistics mean little if communities affected harbor ill will in growing numbers.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

eeh, soldiers are supposed to have discipline ... are all the thumbs down here from american tourists then? it looks like a severe problem

0 ( +1 / -1 )

taro67

Almost all of the suggestions you've listed above have been implemented for years and are the reason the crime/incident rate is as low as it is. It's obvious that you obviously have no first-hand knowledge of the policies the military implements to mitigate this problem and you clearly have no idea what's required of us before we are cleared for overseas duty in Japan and stationed here. You still don't get it. A zero crime rate is not realistically expected of Japanese citizens in Japan nor for any other subgroup living in Japan nor should the same be expected of SOFA personnel. We commit far fewer crimes per capita compared to our host nation population, especially if you focus on serious and violent crimes, and to expect a 0% crime rate from us when the same is not expected of the general populace is an unacceptable double standard. Why are you comparing the crime rate in Japan to the US? The Japanese crime rate is lower than the general US crime rate, and the crime rate for American service members stationed in Japan is lower than both. What does that tell you? Why aren't you more upset about the far more numerous violent and sexual crimes committed by your countrymen than about the far smaller number committed by us? Could it simply be because you feel that we shouldn't be here to begin with so any subsequent crime is that much more heinous? Hardly rational but very convenient for you.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

It's obvious that you obviously have no first-hand knowledge of the policies the military implements to mitigate this problem and you clearly have no idea what's required of us before we are cleared for overseas duty in Japan and stationed here.

You are correct. I don't. However, it does not take someone with this knowledge to know that the efforts are not effective in eliminating crime. So, perhaps the efforts should be redoubled until they are effective. But giving up on the goal of no crime seems like an effort which lacks seriousness. All other crime rates are irrelevant, though, I will give credit that it is moving in the right direction. Keep it up.

Why aren't you more upset about the far more numerous violent and sexual crimes committed by your countrymen than about the far smaller number committed by us?

That is Japan's problem, not yours. But the Japanese should not also be burdened with the problems of the US military. And the US military will always be a problem on Okinawa until some amount of consideration is given to the burden we have to bear. You might claim that we should address our concerns to Tokyo, but this is merely a ruse. If the US were to demand the the Marines, for instance, should move to mainland Japan, Tokyo would oblige. Most American proponents on JT don't get that Okinawa is not asking for relief from some of this burden, we are demanding it. So, if you don't want to see these incidents thrown in your face every time they happen, either stop them completely or act on our concerns (Henoko is not a solution).

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

taro67, well said

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Almost all of the suggestions you've listed above have been implemented for years

Just so we are clear, please list which of the suggestions I made are regulations and which are not. The dates that they became SOP would be interesting as well.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

However, it does not take someone with this knowledge to know that the efforts are not effective in eliminating crime.

No, it really doesn't require any sort of specific knowledge to know that these efforts, being that they result in a lower statistical rate of crime than that of the local population, are indeed quite effective. You are confusion high effectiveness with absolute perfection.

So, perhaps the efforts should be redoubled until they are effective.

Re-doubled? Do you have anything that isn't entirely meaningless? What, exactly, would re-doubling consist of? You haven't even been able to come up with a suggestion that hasn't already been implemented, let alone a doubling of the existing ones.

But giving up on the goal of no crime seems like an effort which lacks seriousness

Which is why no one has given up on it. As unrealistic as it currently seems, we may well have a day when no crime exists in the world. However, we have to deal with the world as it currently is, not as we wish it was. That means that, like it or not, the current reality is that there is no way to create a crime-free society.

That is Japan's problem, not yours.

No, our problem is that you demand to be taken seriously when you are blaming others for problems that are actually worse on your side. It's like complaining that your roommate doesn't clean his side of the room while your side has small mammals making homes in the trash piles under the bed. Why would anyone give your complaint weight?

You might claim that we should address our concerns to Tokyo, but this is merely a ruse.

Not really. It's just the way things are done. Hell, we have people strapping bombs to themselves to protest bases in other countries, and we aren't shutting them down. Picketing outside isn't going to result in anything.

If the US were to demand the the Marines, for instance, should move to mainland Japan, Tokyo would oblige.

Yes, they would. And a small base might well be set up. However, there would be a separate negotiation to increase the size of whatever next base is closest to the region the Okinawa base covers. We already have bases that can cover the middle of Japan; we don't need more resources there.

In other words, military bases aren't set up for the hell of it. They have actual strategic purposes.

Similarly, if Japan requested we make changes to the Okinawa base, we would comply as well. In fact, this was already done back sometime around May. The base population is effectively going to be cut in half, with 9000 troops moving out.

Again, in other words, yes (surprise, surprise), allied governments with mutually beneficial treaties do actually get together and talk about ways to improve the effects of the treaties. But that's "governments"; not "military bases".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

You haven't even been able to come up with a suggestion that hasn't already been implemented, let alone a doubling of the existing ones.

List them with the dates of implementation.

As for the rest of your comment, it is nothing but standard talking points and just as meaningless to me. You would do better to ignore me in the future if you are going to say the same thing over and over.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

@Fadamor: I find your arguments to be very reasonable and well-thought out. I hope you will weigh in on a suggestion I'd like to offer (below).

@USNinJapan: Everything has not been tried and, until one has exhausted every reasonable option, the host nation will never be satisfied that the rate is as low as it possibly could be. Zero may be unobtainable, but it is conceivable that the current rate, as low as it is, could be lowered significantly further.

@taro67: As an American who was stationed in Japan a few decades ago, and whose son was stationed there recently, I sympathize with where you are coming from. (I'm returning to Japan next week for a visit, and I'm really looking forward to it.)

The problem with "education" programs is that they're predominantly one-way. ("Spray and pray" is how they are often described.) No one really knows how much, if any, is really sinking in. Or if it is having any effect on the part of the person it needs to: their sense of values as opposed to their intellect. Fadamor writes the following, astute statement: "The problem is that NO ONE has a test that can say, 'This guy will develop rape tendencies two years after enlisting.' " I beg to differ. There are ways to spot potential trouble areas in an individual's personality -- things that might make them a higher risk for anti-social behavior. (Yes, it does require expertise, however, among our military forces, such problem individuals are in a very small minority. They will stick out, given the chance for exposure.)

And the way to achieve this result is not by the command talking/harping/exhorting/"educating" their people, but just the opposite: Each person should be required to write out, in their own hand, what they believe is expected of them, and the standards they will pledge to upload. In essence, each letter is an argumentative essay in which the writer declares/argues why they should be trusted with the privilege of liberty in the host country. The requirements of what the letter must contain -- use of alcohol, the impact of crimes by Americans on the local community, attitudes towards women, towards the host country, etc. -- can be established by the command. Once submitted, each letter is carefully reviewed and, if acceptable, the writer and witnesses will sign it -- and the letter is filed. Unrestricted liberty would only be granted as the end of this process.

Such letters are effective for several reasons: A person writing his genuine thoughts out and knowing his attitude and perspective are going to be witnessed is far more likely to draw upon personal honor to uphold what he has written. It is my firm conviction that the vast majority of American service people have a deep sense of honor. Free-form writing is far likelier to reveal when someone is not being genuine, or is expressing attitudes that are contrary to what his command -- acting on behalf of the host country -- expects. Most importantly, the letter(s) provide the most effective tangible evidence to the command and host nation that efforts to educate the military community, and the values expected of them, have taken hold.

This process is actually a lot less expensive and less time-consuming than massive training programs. It provides the command with a higher-level of assurance that those who have earned the privilege of unrestricted liberty in the host country present a near-zero risk for infractions. Those who can't meet that standard will not be eligible for anything more than restricted liberty or, in some cases, none at all. It is those to whom intensive education programs should be directed -- or who should be transferred out.

I do not believe this course of action has been tried.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

yabits Nov. 13, 2012 - 01:06PM JST

Thank you for a reasoned voice that does not sound like it came from the PR office of the Defense Department. Enjoy your stay and wish your son well.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

List them with the dates of implementation.

Being that I don't trust you enough to not try and move the goalposts, I will meet you halfway:

The topic of this article is sexual harassment, you go ahead and clearly propose a regulation that you believe would have prevented this crime from occurring. Make it distinct and specific. In other words, something that could be published as a regulation, not just a generally vague and all inclusive concept.

I, in turn, will either point out the existing regulation covering it, or will show why the regulation would either not work, or would result in worse incidents.

Sound fair to you?

As for the rest of your comment, it is nothing but standard talking points and just as meaningless to me.

Well, being that each one of those comments was a direct and specific response to a point you made, I would say this reflects more your attitude of refusing to hear anything you don't like as opposed to any failure on my part to counter your points.

You would do better to ignore me in the future if you are going to say the same thing over and over.

Ah, I see...so, you are allowed to generally claim that current regulations are not effective, but others are not allowed to claim that a specific percentage decrease in crime and specific average levels of crime indicate effectiveness.

You can vaguely claim that a solution is to "re-double" efforts, but others cannot point out that "re-doubling efforts" contains no meaning, metric, or even direction.

You can claim that demanding 0% crime is not only achievable, but expected as a minimum, but others cannot claim that 0% crime does not reflect any version of reality in any civilization known.

You can claim that it is pointless to protest to the Japanese government because they won't do anything, but others can't point out that the have indeed done something fairly significant about it.

If you had not posted any of those points, I would not have responded to them. If you believe these points nothing more than meaningless repetition, perhaps, instead of assuming the fault lies with everyone else you should consider who keeps bringing them up. In other words, if they are meaningless, then they are meaningless as soon as you mention them, not after they are responded to.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I, in turn, will either point out the existing regulation covering it, or will show why the regulation would either not work, or would result in worse incidents.

All of them together would be effective. Now, proceed to list them.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Waiting on you.

Like I said: "Clearly propose a regulation that you believe would have prevented this crime from occurring. Make it distinct and specific. In other words, something that could be published as a regulation, not just a generally vague and all inclusive concept."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Waiting on you.

I made my suggestions to Fadamore. If you want to comment on them as I wrote them, please do so. You can include any thoughts on yabits' well-written comments. Otherwise, I will not write "something that could be published as a regulation" to satisfy your your somewhat exaggerated ego. I reiterate, please ignore me if you are only going to nit-pick everything for hours on end while simply regurgitating pro-American talking points and spouting arrogant opinions about which I could not care less.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

I made my suggestions to Fadamore.

And I told you I would not comment on them because they were vague and I did not trust you to not move the goalposts.

If you want to comment on them as I wrote them, please do so.

As I told you from the very beginning, I don't want to comment on them because they are vague and have way too much wiggle room.

I am, however, willing to meet you half-way, like I said. You are the one that is refusing to compromise, which makes sense, considering that you also refuse to compromise on your opinion that anything other than a 0% crime level by the most smallest and most aggressive sector of Okinawan society is totally unacceptable and should result in the expulsion of everyone, and how you refuse to budge from the position that a crime rate statistically lower than that of the local population is a sign that the rules currently existing are actually effective.

You can include any thoughts on yabits' well-written comments.

Generally, I like it, but I'll wait for him to ask for my opinion.

Otherwise, I will not write "something that could be published as a regulation" to satisfy your your somewhat exaggerated ego.

Yes, I am sure that it is my exaggerated ego preventing you from writing a clear, concise, regulation or rule, and not a realization that it's a heck of lot harder to actually put something useful down on paper rather than just complain that people aren't working hard enough to satisfy your (some would call egotistical) demand for perfection.

Speaking of my exaggerated ego, gee, I wonder who gave me a negative point for my comments?

I reiterate, please ignore me if you are only going to nit-pick everything for hours on end while simply regurgitating pro-American talking points and spouting arrogant opinions about which I could not care less.

No.

I have no intention of listening to you repeatedly making the same claims over and over again, and making the same impossible demands over and over again, without pointing out all the fallacies you make. For instance, talking about "pro-American" talking points A) as if that were a bad thing, and B) as if I had actually done so at all. Unless, of course, you consider an acceptance that there is currently no way to stop all crime from happening to be a pro-American talking point (I personally can't see it).

Put simply, you have been called on your claim, and have not been able to respond. Any idiot can complain and demand that others are doing enough to fix problems. It takes a very special sort of idiot to actually try to fix things. Fortunately, the Navy is full of those sorts of idiots (and, unfortunately, some other, less productive sorts), and together, they are capable of putting together regulations that prevent all sorts of crimes, including sexual harassment, on a level equal to, and occasionally even exceeding, that of civilian populations.

But I'm wasting your time with my arrogant opinions and talking points. You have no need for ego, nit-picking, or pro-Americanism (known to some as "thought, "detail", and "objectivity"). I won't suggest that you ignore my comments because...well, you already do ignore my comments, even when you respond to them.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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