politics

Defense minister apologizes to Okinawa governor for official's 'rape' remarks

35 Comments

Defense Minister Yasuo Ichikawa on Friday apologized to Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima for “rape” remarks made by a defense ministry official last week in explaining the government’s controversial plan to relocate the Futenma base in Okinawa.

Ichikawa met Nakaima in a meeting open to the media, NHK reported. He said that he understood how much the remarks hurt the feelings of a Okinawan people, but Nakaima called the controversry extremely disappointing and ended the meeting after only 8 minutes.

Satoshi Tanaka, chief of the defense ministry’s branch in Okinawa, told reporters during a casual drinking session in Naha last Monday night: “Do you declare, ‘I am going to rape you,’ when you rape someone?”

The 50-year-old Tanaka used the word “okasu,” a word meaning “violate” but often used to imply sexual assault of women. Japanese media took it to mean “rape.”

Tanaka was answering a question on why the government has never given a clear timetable for submitting to Okinawa an environmental assessment report, which might help move the relocation plan forward.

The island group, where fierce battles were fought in the closing days of World War II, is especially sensitive to such a comment after the rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by three U.S. servicemen in 1995.

Regarding the rape case, Nakaima asked Ichikawa to explain his remarks in the Diet on Thursday when he admitted that he didn't know the details about the incident. Ichikawa replied that because the incident happened 16 years ago, he had thought that it wasn't necessary to go into all the details during a Q&A session in the Diet, NHK reported.

Nakaima said he has dealt with eight different Japanese defense ministers during his time in office, and expressed frustration that the central government failed to understand Okinawan people's feelings on the U.S. bases issue.

© Japan Today/AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

35 Comments
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I guess their might be a third PM for this year

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

This is Absurd ... Apologizing is Traditional Japanese Art.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

So the Okinawan people feel they are being raped, but if someone explains how they feel, they get mad?

Or, they don't want anyone to bring up rape, and would rather everyone pretend there were no rapes?

I think what they are sensitive about is the bases. After all, the locals committ more rapes per capita guaranteed.

The only way I can make sense of this is that Tanaka's handlers are the ones making the issue, because his statement shows that they are treating Okinawa unfairly. Meanwhile, the governor of Okinawa just seeks to use the opportunity for some publicity. I wish he would have instead thanked Tanaka for his frankness.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A frank politician is a dead politician. A public confab is not the time for honest living room talk.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This man gave an honest assessment of how Japanese people treat Ryukyuan people. So why shiukd he have apologised?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How about doing something real to help Okinawa?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

His dismissal or resignation is just a matter of time.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I was beaten to the punch on the reality of the situation. The central government is going to go through with this, and I believe the translation of the comment is not really the issue. He spoke the truth, and he's paying the price for it. Too bad.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The only way I can make sense of this is that Tanaka's handlers are the ones making the issue, because his statement shows that they are treating Okinawa unfairly. Meanwhile, the governor of Okinawa just seeks to use the opportunity for some publicity. I wish he would have instead thanked Tanaka for his frankness.

I think you have something wrong here, Nakaima did not use this as a chance for publicity. It was hoisted upon him by the press. The press reported this without his knowledge it seems and he is just responding to what was reported. I also have heard that the reporter in question also is no longer allowed into the defense ministry's offices in Okinawa for publishing what he heard during a night out drinking.

Nakaima said it right that it comes down to an issue of trust. And Tanaka screwed that one up and made more problems for his "handlers" trying to deal with a difficult situation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This man gave an honest assessment of how Japanese people treat Ryukyuan people. So why shiukd he have apologised?

So I guess in your way of thinking it's justifiable to say what ever one wants to based upon where the people in question live or what their ethnicity is? No need to apologize for being arrogant and crass.

In this day and age it's disappointing to say the least to actually read something like this and believe that there are people who think this way.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

YuriOtani: "How about doing something real to help Okinawa?"

Agreed. But unfortunately all Nakaima wants is political points and recognition, and his demands are only going to be hurtful if realized (fortunately, they won't be).

As for the Defense Minister and his 'apology', this is just another example of apologizing for getting caught saying what you feel is true, not for being wrong and hurtful.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

So I guess in your way of thinking it's justifiable to say what ever one wants to based upon where the people in question live or what their ethnicity is? No need to apologize for being arrogant and crass.

In his defense, a disproportionate number of US Forces in Japan continue to be stationed on that one island with the consent of the Yamato electorates at large.

Now, the Okinawans could declare independence or petition for new terms of federacy/union with Japan but they don't.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I wish people would stop worrying so much about people's feelings, who might be offended and who isn't. They might actually get something done then, just say it how it is. Facts are what we need.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Now, the Okinawans could declare independence or petition for new terms of federacy/union with Japan but they don't.

Do you realize how ridiculous this sounds? If you are talking about Okinawa once being independent, way back until the later 1870's or so, then you would also have to use the same logic and consider that all of Japan at one time or another was a collection of feudal fiefs run my lords. I guess they would have the right, based upon your logic here to declare independence as well.

People have to stop thinking that Okinawa is anything other than a part of Japan. One prefecture within the country that also has a responsibility to do it's part in helping defend the country as well.

Granted the bases NEED to be realigned, BUT to totally remove them would put Japan's southern door at a risk that no one wants to seriously consider.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Edit.....run BY lords.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“Do you declare, ‘I am going to rape you,’ when you rape someone?”

This is so stupid.

Bank Robbers declare a bank robbery so they get cash. But rapists never declare a rape. They just do it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@smithinjapan

YuriOtani: "How about doing something real to help Okinawa?"

Agreed. But unfortunately all Nakaima wants is political points and recognition, and his demands are only going to be hurtful if realized (fortunately, they won't be).

As for the Defense Minister and his 'apology', this is just another example of apologizing for getting caught saying what you feel is true, not for being wrong and hurtful.

My sentiments exactly. (^_^)

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Well, Ryukyu has been forced to accept the unwanted attentions of the U.S.A., which is a kind of "rape" and to have this said by a minister from the Government of Japan (another member of the gang bang) doesn't go down well.

It's understandable, considering the government of Japan has happily given away Okinawan land for use by the US military.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well put Johninnaha, I'm not sure how happy they are about prostituting out Okinawa though... I think they'd be happy to have the US announce the base moving to Austrailia.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Well, Ryukyu has been forced to accept the unwanted attentions of the U.S.A., which is a kind of "rape" and to have this said by a minister from the Government of Japan (another member of the gang bang) doesn't go down well.

Isn't it about time that you started thinking about Okinawa as a part of Japan and not an independent kingdom?

Time too to learn to read, no "minister" of Japan made any disparaging comments either. It was a middle, if that, level politic, that made a rude and arrogant comment whilst drinking with a bunch of media types that brought about this current brouhaha.

What he said should never have seen the light of day. He is an idiot for trusting that the local Okinawan press would not publish any remarks he made. The press in Okinawa have one purpose only, and that is to continually make the US Military out to be the devil and the Okinawan people to be martyrs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, there has to be another plan than defiling our coral reefs. How about putting a runway in Camp Hansen? There use to be an airfield there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, there has to be another plan than defiling our coral reefs. How about putting a runway in Camp Hansen? There use to be an airfield there.

The better plan would be to jointly use Kadena. However that has been dismissed numerous times. You really don't want to start a discussion about defiling coral reefs. Okinawan's themselves have been doing that for decades.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The real story her is why was a politician going to a drinking party with a bunch of REPORTERS?!? A shocking level of stupidity and ignorance. Even if the journos promised the remarks would be off the record, it would be stupid to trust them.

Time for the Okinawans to stop whining. If the military leaves, their economy will be destroyed. I'd love the US to pull out and go home. Can you imagine the chaos is Japan were to actually have to defend ITSELF? Living next to 2 nuclear armed countries that hate Japan, a long coastline to defend, etc. The defense budget here would need to be tripled at the very least.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The real story her is why was a politician going to a drinking party with a bunch of REPORTERS?!? A shocking level of stupidity and ignorance. Even if the journos promised the remarks would be off the record, it would be stupid to trust them.

The guy isn't a politician, not elected to office, he is is a bureaucrat working for the defense ministry.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry, bureaucrat then, not politician. Same principle though.

As to the idea that nobody understands the feelings of Okinawan people, that is nonsense. People DO understand. They just don't care, and don't think feelings have much importance when deciding issues of national security.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry, bureaucrat then, not politician. Same principle though.

As to the idea that nobody understands the feelings of Okinawan people, that is nonsense. People DO understand. They just don't care, and don't think feelings have much importance when deciding issues of national security.

We could probably get into a good discussion about the differences and I would disagree that the principle is not the same for here in Japan. Hence the feeling that they are arrogant and overbearing. I have been led to believe that media type folks get quite a bit of internal information about the government from these lifetime bureaucrats and the guy who reported this story first certainly bit the hand that fed him. I doubt if the defense ministry office type people here are never going to talk to his newspaper again. If the truth be known I do believe that "naicha" particularly ones in government, have their noses up in the air when they are dealing with the Okinawan people.

That isn't just government types either for that matter, but that is another story.

However when it comes to issues of national security I do believe that Okinawan politicians should consider where they are and the troubles they would really face if there were no bases here. Those bases being here provide a deterrent that the local politicians rarely seem to care or think about.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, the national government has signed over soventry of Okinawa to a foreign power. They would rather have most of the Americans in Okinawa away from the "home islands". So this joker gets drunk and shows his true feelings. Yubaru. Did you know the Americans can take over control over any part of Okinawa for security reasons? They are still the masters of Okinawa and most Okinawan people hate it. Full sovereignty needs to be restored to Okinawa and the bases controlled by Japan with America as tenants. Nothing has changed from my childhood.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, the national government has signed over soventry of Okinawa to a foreign power

Do you know what you are saying here? Do you realize how foolish it comes across?

For arguments sake only here, and if this was even remotely true, then get this, there would be no need for the US Military to get anyone's OK's to do anything it wanted in regards to ANYTHING in Okinawa. Think about that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, I ask the same question over and over, and still haven't gotten good answer rom anybody yet.

Is the Military on Okinawa proteding Okinawa? or Japan?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gurukun I think you don't get an answer to your liking for a few reasons one being that you separate Okinawa from Japan and it sounds like you consider it an independent country, it is not as you know.

Okinawa is a part of Japan. It's like asking if the US Navy is protecting Yokohama or Japan, or the Air Force Aomori or Japan, etc etc etc.

To to answer your question, both. However instead of using the word protecting I would say deterrent is a better word to describe their presence in Okinawa, Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yuri

Yubaru, there has to be another plan than defiling our coral reefs. How about putting a runway in Camp Hansen? There use to be an airfield there.

So the mayor of Okinawa City (Tomon) is ok with defiling the coral reef in the Awase tidelands for commercial purposes? And Pachinko / Casino's are the answer? Really? Low paying service industry jobs are better than durable jobs as MLC's? Hmmm.

Yubaru: Exactly. The US presence is a deterrent, or the Chinese would have already dug their heels into the Senkaku's and started rilling for gas/oil.

But the Okinawans are the ones that get screwed in this whole deal. The presence here should be a bit more equitable throughout Japan. If the Marines are kept here, then MCAS Futnema needs to move and allow the rest of the bases fold up (Naha Port functions go to the existing White Beach port, and the rest are functions that leave for Guam).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the_sicilian, America blocked the placing of factories in Okinawa when it would of been possible to build them. About what Okinawa city has done, well that is their business. This island does not belong to America and the troops are guests. Lastly there are not enough Marines to protect it from the Chinese. Kadena AFB offers a lot more "protection". A conflict with China will be in the South China Sea.If they can break through those defenses, the Marines and their families would make good hostages.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

America blocked the placing of factories in Okinawa when it would of been possible to build them.

That is back when America had jurisdiction over the island, back before 1972. Live in the now Yuri, stop regurgitating things that make no difference TODAY.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru, that was the answer I was expecting. So if Okinawa is part of Japan, is it safe to say that the Military Presence on Okinawa is a deterent from China for the entire Japan country, correct?

If that is the understanding, then wouldn't it be fair to spread the bases throughout Japan?

If China or NK (closer to Japan than Okinawa) attacked mainland Japan, then most of the military would need to be sent to Japan. With todays technology, the military can send troops to any part of the world within hours.

Do not misunderstand my stance on this. I am not anti-base, as I am prior military as well, however, I am of Okinawan blood also. I do feel that there are too many bases on the island and think that some of this 'burden' should be shared by the whole country that the U.S. keeps under its umbrella.

That is back when America had jurisdiction over the island, back before 1972. Live in the now Yuri, stop regurgitating things that make no difference TODAY.

History defines the future. What happened back then, does make a difference today. if your parents didn't meet back then, you wouldn't be he today. Same concept.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If that is the understanding, then wouldn't it be fair to spread the bases throughout Japan?

Back when the bases were being built? Sure more than likely. But if you know your history of the island you would also know that since the US controlled Okinawa there was no need to "take" any more land from mainland, and Okinawa was convenient as well.

Today however, due to a host of political and economic problems it really isn't feasible. It's probably cheaper, both politically and economically to suffer the problems of dealing with Okinawa than even attempting to make a move to mainland Japan. That is beating a dead horse in my opinion.

that was the answer I was expecting.

Then why ask the "numerous times" if you knew the answer in the first place? Next time I will know better. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

History defines the future. What happened back then, does make a difference today. if your parents didn't meet back then, you wouldn't be he today. Same concept.

I take note of the condescending comment here. While history may define the future, if one is constantly walking facing backward they are eventually going to fall flat on their faces as well. Yuri often brings nonsensical arguments and points into the discussion that are foolish at best, and I can not write here what they are at worst.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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