U.S. Marines commander asks for quiet mourning on Okinawa


A U.S. Marines commander in Japan has asked service people in the southwestern region of Okinawa to keep a low profile to show respect after a sailor allegedly stabbed a Japanese woman and then killed himself, the latest in a series of crimes that have outraged residents.

"As a sign of respect to a community that is angry and in shock, we should be unobtrusive," Lt. Gen. Eric Smith said in a letter dated Sunday.

The letter was made available Monday by a U.S. military official.

The letter, addressed to base leaders, asked everyone to avoid unneeded shopping, eating out or being overly loud so as to "demonstrate solidarity with our Okinawan neighbors."

The U.S. military identified the sailor as Gabriel A. Olivero from North Carolina. Japan's Foreign Ministry said the sailor stabbed the woman and killed himself Saturday.

Okinawan people have long resented the heavy presence of American troops, including the resulting crime, aircraft noise and accidents, and destruction of nature.

"It's just the decent, right, and neighborly thing to do," Smith said in the letter, while noting that most American troops are doing good work and he was not asking them to hide or be ashamed.

Although Okinawa accounts for less than 1% of Japan's land space, it hosts about half of the 54,000 American troops stationed in Japan, and is home to 64% of the land used by the U.S. bases in the country under a bilateral security treaty.

A plan to relocate a Marine Corps air station called Futenma to a less populated part of Okinawa has also been contentious. Denny Tamaki, who was elected Okinawa's governor in October, is pushing to have the base moved off the island.

Tamaki met with Smith on Monday to discuss the need for more efforts to contain crime by U.S. service people on Okinawa.

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©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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he was not asking them to hide or be ashamed.

Does this translate to “be proud”? Confused.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

what is this weird announcement .. and which "people" is he asking... if its his soldiers or employees, they should be commanded, not asked.. and to stay confined to base ( hopefully forever ) .. if its Okinwanan locals ( including foreign residents) he should be bowing and apologizing .

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Denny Tamaki, who was elected Okinawa's governor in October, is pushing to have the base moved off the island.

A friend of mine just came back from Miyakojima and said Japanese and U.S. officials were just there looking at possible locations for the new base. It has been one of my dreams to go to that beautiful island but now I should hurry my plans before half the island is taken over.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

You have to live can’t be described.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan, regain your sovereignty and tell the US to take their base home,

After 70 years the US occupation of Japan must end.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Dadude, you serious? I sincerely hope not...

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

After 70 years the US occupation of Japan must end.

It ended decades ago and now is an agreement between Japan and America.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Not just Miyakojima, but Ishigaki too. Both places are my choice for retirement. Not anymore.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

zichi: A Godfather agreement: The US made an offer Japan couldn't refuse! The same agreement the Us made with many other nations. Can I suggest you read some American history? Maybe also the history of Central American nations, South American nations, African nations. Reading US propaganda is no substitute for history books and some analyses.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

well apparently GSDF wiggled themselves to miyako unfortunately... and I was gonna buy property there...

that said it still might be allright if the yankees buggle off.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

The US military came here afte the war not to protect us, but to ensure Asia that Japan would never try to take over again. Some suggest the problem is that the US military soldiers have no real sense of their purpose here, and that is the root of the problem (especially after the end of the cold war). Probably 99.9999% are good people, but it is the 0.0001% that make all the news.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Good on the commander for addressing it respectfully and not simply making a mass punishment that would do no good.

Shame it devolved into a 'US get out' chant so quickly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, by all means, DON'T go to Miyako. "We" don't want you there.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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