politics

Okinawa says U.S. military not doing enough to control its personnel

94 Comments
By Harumi Ozawa

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© 2012 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

94 Comments
Login to comment

Figures from the Okinawa prefectural police show the percentage of crimes committed by this group has fallen from a high in 1973 of 6.9% of all crimes to 0.8% in 2011..........

What I tell you. They, the Okinawan politicians want perfection. Funny how people are, expecting what one can not do themselves.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

"In fact, the severity of the incidents is intensifying,..."

I can certainly sympathize with Okinawa for having to play host to U.S. forces on behalf of Japan, however this statement is patently false. Things were much worse before the US brass was forced to pay more attention to the issue after those servicemen raped that 12-year-old several years back.

While I cant fault these folks for wanting the burden to be shifted elsewhere, approaching the issue from a position of exaggeration and hyperbole isn't really the way to go.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

The percentages used are vague at best it does not detail what percentage of violent crimes are included in the count. One could make the argument that the percentage could be even lower.

Anyone can make the numbers say what the want.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Oh, good gawd people! Any excuse to put damnation onto another party.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Perhaps the Okinawans can try that kite thing - maybe it will reduce crime.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

As for crimes committed by US military, the only statistic Okinawans are interested in is ZERO.

If the only way to get that is for the foreign military to leave, that would be good too.

Apart from anything else, we need the space.

Bye!

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Perhaps the US brass isn't doing enough, but that doesn't change the fact that the Okinawan government and lawmakers never run out of things to whine enough -- in fact, that seems to be their only job down there... unless China's at their back door again, of course. Then they quiet down for a bit. From where I sit I see the US government doing a LOT about this issue, and have also done so in the past. These 'guests' are there solely to protect the Japanese people, and while there are a few very, very bad apples in there, the entire US contingency cannot be blamed, nor should they all be punished indefinitely. If these two are found guilty of the rape, let them rot in prison for it. If Nakaima and the lawmakers had their way, however, the Ryukyus would be taken back by China before too long, then they wouldn't be able to complain at all.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Foreign crime is totally unacceptable to Japanese people, and what it makes worse here is that the US Military are invited guests so the politicians feel that as a guest they should be perfect. Failing to accept the reality that no one is perfect and sadly crimes happen.

The military folks are truly pissed off at the guys that committed this crime.

The attitude that is that "if you aren't here crime won't happen" excuse me that particular crime won't happen.

People living on glass houses should beware of throwing stones. It's hypocritical at best to point fingers at 0.8% of the population when 92.2% of the same population is ever more guilty.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

can we at least wait for a conviction before damning these men and the whole us military?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

@BertieWooster

I find it interesting that the only statistic Okinawans are interested in is zero for crimes committed by members of the U.S. Military. Maybe if those same numbers were applied to crimes committed here in Okinawa, there might be a reduction in crimes committed by Okinawans also. We all know there are crimes committed here in Okinawa but the media, RBC/QAB/ONN tends to only focus on those committed by U.S. Military members and no one asks if their story can be aired, like what is done for Japanese/Okinawan citizens.

I thought it was interesting how that Japanese teenager murdered an American teenager over a female, and I dont remember seeing a whole lot of coverage on that. God knows if that was the other way around, there would be protests everywhere again. But it must be ok for a Japanese individual to murder an American. Or the story of the Marine saving an elderly woman's life on one of the Marine Posts here in the chow hall..But I guess that also is'nt newsworthy. If your going to report on current issues, it might help to give your viewers both sides of the story, not only "Oh look what this bad American did".

No one has ever said we were perfet, but there are very many good things happening between the Okinawan community and the U.S. Military. If your too caught up in your "I hate America" beliefs you might not see that. . As for the space that you say you need, I am pretty sure there are enough AEON's and Lawson's on Okinawa already. Or that land could be used to build more ridiculously expensive apartments for Americans, but I'm sure the housing offices would survive without the military here, charging 60,000-100,000 less for the same apartments.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Bertie: "Apart from anything else, we need the space."

And once again if the US and Japanese central government listened to you or the whiners in Okinawa as soon as the bases left many businesses that built themselves AROUND the base (yes, it was their choice to build and live there, not that you'd know it from the whining) would go broke and/or move to where other bases were to live off them again. More than that, people in Okinawa (or from there), as is often the case, would demand the US defend them the next time China shows a display of force.

The woman in the picture holding the poorly phrased "No Rape No Base" (should be opposite order, really... or at least it would be more effective) would be running for the hills and begging the US for help if China came close.

The US forces are more than just 'guests' in Japan. A guest is someone you invite to your house, treat them, and allow them to relax and enjoy themselves. The US forces do more than their fair share of 'housework' and are in fact depended on by the head of the house, and the house itself for that matter. The idea nuance that they are here for a little visit is moronic at best. YES, crimes occur, be it by US soldiers or Japanese nationals, and you can bet your bottom dollar that every other US soldier on Japanese soil is extremely upset with the two numbskulls in question.

Like I said, a small fraction of Okinawans would be happy with nothing less than all troops removed from Japanese soil (well, they'd stop caring if they just left Okinawa), then the night before the troops left and abandoned the bases Nakaima would insist on a big enkai and get all teary-eyed, talk about how much he respects and appreciates what they've done, then two minutes after the US left the Okinawans would whine that there is no one to defend them, with many blaming the US forces and central government.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Guess what folks? Okinawa police count parking tickets and any traffic violation by American military personnel as a CRIME STATISTIC! Japanese don't count. This is how they inflate the numbers to show how "evil" the Americans are. I wonder how many rapes and other violent crimes committed by Japanese occurred in Okinawa over the past 12 months?

As a retired US Service member who has served proudly in Okinawa, I am truly outraged by the conduct of these two. The SOFA is working. They are in Japanese custody, Japanese are investigating with full assistance from the US, and they will face Japanese justice. What revision would make this process work faster? Nakaima can have his day in Washington but he's not going to win any sympathy if he keeps spouting what is starting to sound like nothing more than anti-American hatred!

6 ( +14 / -8 )

smithinjapan: "the whiners in Okinawa ......built themselves AROUND the base"

after their ancestral villages/houses were destroyed/confiscated by Americans several decades ago ?

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Okinawa & Okinawans have some very ligitimate beefs with bases etc & clearly they deserve some relief in that regard.

However I dont like how those that want bases removed/reduced put this awful rape upfront & centre & harping on & on..........I understand your beefs but they shudnt use this unfortunate cases like this to persue their goals

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Okinawa is such a beautiful place! Too bad it was the sight of such horrible violence during WW2 and now, they are still living night and day in a no man's land of a cold war legacy. How can the Okinawans one day be free of fear of not being murdered or raped by drunk US Marines?? Or kick out the US Marines and let CHINESE marines, etc..try to invade them after the USA is kicked out of Okinawa?? Not exactly great choices for Okinawa and for all of Japan. How about keeping all male marines on other islands?? No need to have them all on that main island of Okinawa, just open up a few of these smaller islands with no whore houses, no bars, etc...I bet these youngins will change their tune real quick!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

after their ancestral villages/houses were destroyed/confiscated by Americans several decades ago ?

Interesting. I always thought it was the Japanese the destroyed Okinawa during the war.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

"overwhelming indignation".

Are you freaking kidding me? Were YOU the one raped? I don't think so, so you have no right to feel indignified. Clearly you're just trying to push the racist sentiment against the U.S. forward, you piece of scum.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Mary Marylander: "after their ancestral villages/houses were destroyed/confiscated by Americans several decades ago ?"

They most certainly did create large swaths of destruction DURING THE WAR! No questioning that, as there is no question the Okinawans got a raw deal on all sides. But surely you're not suggesting there was a high concentration of ancestral houses in ring around a big space in Futenma where the future base would be.

tmarie: "Interesting. I always thought it was the Japanese the destroyed Okinawa during the war."

In many cases, yes, and most certainly with the call for a war of attrition from Imperial headquarters, as well as the forced suicides and murders (which many will deny, especially Abe!) committed by Imperial troops towards the end of the war in particular.

The facts still remain either way -- Okinawans who built around the base did so to live and profit, and now they're complaining despite the fact that MANY still depend on the bases to live, not to mention the bases protect them. If once in a while a US serviceman (or woman) commits a crime, nail him/her for it, but don't scream in outrage when you turn a blind eye to Japanese committing 99% of the cases of the same crime.

These people would whine just for the sake of whining, and worse yet, the politicians and lawmakers simply do it to score points.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

tmarie, why do you think Okinawan people's 祖国復帰 (back to the motherland) campaigns under the American occupation was so intense ?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

smithinjapan, why do you think Okinawan people's 祖国復帰 (back to the motherland) campaigns under the American occupation was so intense ? (and, why do you continue to be in japan ? I guess it would be much better for you to go back to your beloved Korea where American soldiers are loved so much.)

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Interesting. I always thought it was the Japanese the destroyed Okinawa during the war.

I'm sorry ahead of time here but are you being serious or sarcastic?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"......are you being serious or sarcastic?"

brainwashed, serious, and sarcastic.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

What Okinawa wants to is to be recognized as Japanese citizen. They have been sacrificing so much for mainland Japan but mainlander don't really care about them. One time former prime minister Hatoyama promised that he would remove/reduce US base from Okinawa, but he never did. Okinawa can't trust Japanese government anymore. Now Nakaima is trying hard to draw attention from mainland. His visit will force Japanese government to seriously consider removing/reducing US bases in Okinawa. The way Okinawan people are protesting might be unreasonable, but what else could they do when they can't rely on their own government. Enemy of Okinawa is not US military. We should recognize them as Japanese citizen in a real sense and share the big burden that has been weighing on them for a long time.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The area around the existing bases was for the large part a number of tiny villages and farm land. Yes the people built their houses and schools around the bases, but it's their land, and it's their choice.

I have stated this on a number of occasions but Futenma needs to be moved period.

But what the military has done over the past three decades is phenomenal in regards to their efforts to improve their relationship with the local communities and cut down on crimes.

As in any society it is unrealistic to expect zero incidents. The politicians know this too, don't under-estimate the people of Okinawa they know it's unrealistic too but the politicians are just being politicians, by focusing on the military it keeps people from focusing on the lousy jobs they are doing overall.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The resolution said more than 5,700 crimes had been committed by U.S. military personnel, their family members or employees

Employees, in this case, might even be Japanese I guess? And as someone said previously, even traffic tickets that American servicemen get are counted as criminal ... these Okinawan lawmakers really have no shame in the manner they try to get their own way.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"The area around the existing bases was for the large part a number of tiny villages and farm land. Yes the people built their houses and schools around the bases,.... "

and, many of these Okinawans (and their ancestors) used to live in the big spaces confiscated by Americans, didn't they? They were forced to leave their ancestral houses/villages as a result of the American destruction/confiscation in/after 1945. It's just natural that they wanted to build their new houses near their ancestral villages even if they had been bulldozed and transformed into american military bases.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Figures from the Okinawa prefectural police show the percentage of crimes committed by this group has fallen from a high in 1973 of 6.9% of all crimes to 0.8% in 2011.

Last year, the group accounted for around 3% of Okinawa’s total population.

So... that means that the local population crime rate is 3.5 times greater than that of the Military community. Perhaps instead of demonizing them they should study and look to emulate them. Would , perhaps, lead to a better society? Not in regards to ANYTHING except crime so no anti-american bashing required.

Just sayin!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

it's so easy to manipulate figures, isn't it ?

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Mary,

Was your comment fired in my direction? All I did was capture the statitics that were "surprisingly" posted in the article. It is a fact that I hav eknow for a VERY long time but have not (especially recently) seen printed. How can you call it manipulation when it is clearly shown that 3% of the population does .8% of the "crime". And dont forget that the comment made above that driving infractions are counted in the crime stats while the locals with teh same are not. So if anything it is even MUCH less statistically!!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Indeed. Highly civilised Americans, especially american marines, are known for their low crime rates, at least by Japanese standard.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

okimike67, it must be so frightening for you to live in (or visit) such a volent country like japan.

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

MM: any proof that the young enlisted (mostly) men from America are "highly civilised"? Any stats for the "low crime rates at least by Jpns standards"?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Occupying forces are never welcome, are they?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

“Yet another incident has taken place. In fact, the severity of the incidents is intensifying,” it said.

Really? Then your indignation sounds justified. But WAIT A MINUTE!!!

The resolution said more than 5,700 crimes had been committed by U.S. military personnel, their family members or employees in the 40 years since the small tropical island chain was handed back to Japan in 1972.

Figures from the Okinawa prefectural police show the percentage of crimes committed by this group has fallen from a high in 1973 of 6.9% of all crimes to 0.8% in 2011.

Last year, the group accounted for around 3% of Okinawa’s total population.

So, between 1973 and now, the rate of crimes perpetrated by servicemen compared to all crimes committed in Okinawa FELL by 88.5%, yet this resolution is lying by claiming it's getting worse? I guess when the facts don't back up your agenda, you make up your own "facts".

For those wondering where I got 88.5%:

.8% of 6.9% is 11.5% (.008 / .069 = .115...) 100% - 11.5% = 88.5%

BUT WAIT AGAIN! The resolution states that the SEVERITY, not the FREQUENCY is intensifying. So the rape by two sailors this month is the MOST SEVERE crime that's been committed by servicemen??? Uh, no. The 1995 rape by THREE servicemen would be considered more severe.

So in summary: U.S Military Personnel, PLUS their families, PLUS the base workers brought over from the U.S. total about 3% of the island's population, yet only are responsible for .8% of the island's crime. This is a reduction of 88.5% from its peak shortly after Okinawa was turned back over to Japan, and yet the Okinawan politicians say the "U.S. military top brass were not doing enough to control their thousands of personnel."

Don't make me laugh! Here's a pro tip: Get the crime committed by your OWN people down to an equivilent percentage before you start demanding that the U.S. Military reduce their crime further. Let's see... if the U.S. contigent is 3% of the population, then everyone else (tourists included) must be 97% of the population, right? So how about reducing YOUR share of the crime from 99.2% down to 97%?

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

There is definitely no easy solution for Okinawa, I think what Japan gov can do is to provide extraordinary welfare benefit to all Okinawan so as to compensate their sacrifice for other region of JP. I don't know what JP gov already provide them, however I think free education to Univ., free medical insurance and free housing is basic like the US gov provided Indians and many other countries give their original natives.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"Okinawa says"

More like "A few lawmakers in Okinawa say."

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wonder how well the Chinese will control their military personnel when they take over in Okinawa.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Ranger_Miffy2, it's common sense of the world that genteel, highly-civilised America is diametric opposite of violent Japanese. Americans, especially the marines, are probably as genteel as Koreans, Chinese, etc. As to the statistics, just ask okimike67, Fadamor, etc. So many experts on this forum.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Americans - just get out! Stop occupying Japan. The war is over.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

Isnt the rape still alleged? Other than the scratch on the girl's neck, the okinawan police didnt take her to the hospital to see if she did get raped. Furthermore, they declined an offer to assist the military in investigating by saying they already did so. So all they have is what this girl... (Who was walking the streets around 3am) had told the authorities.

Most japanese that are out partying, tend to stay at a place until the next morning.

I bet, she met these guys , did the nasty and some argument may/may not have risen... And she yelled rape...

How else would she have been able to get done, and not been beat up if nothing was consentual ???

I smell foul play.

Aaand... I was on the kitty hawk in 2002 when all personnel was put on cinderella liberty (before midnight, back on the boat... Then white/blue cards came(white-midnight, blue-overnight). To my understanding... This system was stopped last monday??? Around the same time that this situation happened??? Cmon now ;)

These two guys werent even stationed in japan!!! But all people in japan have to suffer???

Why not put the okinawan base under scrutiny if any base at all??!

I got out of the navy in 05.... And i am happy to not be there any more... Just running my own business in tokyo ;)

My heart goes out to all servicemen in japan who are punished for another's actions.

Just give the two guys to the okinawan police! If by trial and sufficient evidence they are guilty...

But what did they do? Detained them for what the girl accused them of without testing anything... (In my day, you served time in japanese jail for a crime, then serve the military's time in jail for the same crime) they turned the two guys over to the military... Declined the military from investigating... Now this guy is going to DC??? Please.

I'm going to sit back and watch... If it is anything like my time... You are turning almost 50,000 personnel into "before midnight power drinkers"... And with no more red light districts... There arent many ways mr military man can get laid... He cant be out passed midnight to properly meet and hang out overnight with a potential mate... All he has time for is work, duty, showering... Eating food, drinking alcohol until he falls down stumbling back with his buddies... If you are back at 12:01, he cant go back out for 3 months...

Military! Look at the past 10 year track record!!! If you treat people like people, they act like people... You treat people like caged animals???????? There ya go!

I guess they need more rapes, property damage, public fights, taxi drivers stabbed, and other misc alcohol related incidents.

Everyone here... I apologize for ranting but this has had my attention for a week now...

Ive been in the loop from people still enlisted in the military out here and several expats here... Once again... Sorry for the long rant...

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Just an idea, how about moving all the massage joints, whore houses etc...right in to all them bases down in Oki?? Just an idea and make it illegal for wives to complain about their US Marine husbands getting laid at SoapLand?? Just an idea and being them SoapLand up to Tokyo too ASAP !!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@mpoki -- Great post!

While I of course think the guys who did this should be strung up...I think that ALL people who commit sexual assault should be strung up -- and the fact is that in Japan, most of the guys who assault women are Japanese. Why don't we EVER see this kind of indignation and revolt when it's some girl who is gang-assaulted by, for example, the police (in reference to the incident that happened a few months ago)? Or for any assault for that matter? Why? Because the guys down in Okinawa holding these demo's don't care about the crime. They just know it's the kind of crime on which they can take the moral high ground to get what they want.

This kind of disingenuous campaign to stop rape by eliminating the bases is pathetic. If the people of Okinawa really gave a toss about the poor girl who was assaulted and many others like her, they wouldn't use her as a lighting rod to serve their political agenda of getting rid of the bases. They would, if anything, rally to stop sexual assault all over Okinawa, and for the most part, that would mean confronting bosses, employers, friends and family...easier just to attack a military base it seems.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@White_Shinobi,

The woman said the sailors followed her home and intercepted her outside her home. One of the sailors admitted to the crime, while the other denied it. While the newspapers have to continue to use "alleged" until the trial has been held, confessions usually make the term "alleged" moot.

On another note regarding the resolution and its critique of the SOFA:

The agreement limits the authority of Japanese investigators to prosecute U.S. personnel, giving jurisdiction to the American military. Opponents say it too easily leaves criminals unpunished.

This paragraph is not in quotes, nor is it attributed to anyone. Is it an actual quote, or is it the opinion of the article's author?

Regardless, here is the rebuttal:

SOFA Article XVII, Paragraph 3:

In cases where the right to exercise jurisdiction is concurrent the following rules shall apply:

(a) The military authorities of the United States shall have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction over members of the United States armed forces or the civilian component in relation to:

(i) offenses solely against the property or security of the United States, or offenses solely against the person or prop erty of another member of the United States armed forces or the civilian component or of a dependent;

(ii) offenses arising out of any act or omission done in the performance of official duty.

(b) In the case of any other offense the authorities of Japan shall have the primary right to exercise jurisdiction.

Source: http://www.mofa.go.jp/mofaj/area/usa/sfa/pdfs/fulltext.pdf

So much for the SOFA "giving jurisdiction to the American Military". They only get primary jurisdiction if the crime was against U.S. property or between two U.S. personnel. Any other situations and Japan has primary jurisdiction. In cases where something isn't a crime in the U.S. military, but is a crime in Japan, then Japan AGAIN gets jurisdiction.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

EDIT: The U.S. also gets primary jurisdiction when the crime is committed in the course of the servicemember performing their duty, but that's not the case here (and it wasn't the case in 1995, either).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Since there are those in the foreign military occupying 20% of the land area of Okinawa who seem to be unable to control themselves, the upper ranks of the US military have to control them. The punishment is blanket. All are punished for the actions of a few. That's what being in the military means. There is no point whining about it. In any armed force anywhere in the world, the attitude is "all is one and one is all."

You're not here to protect Japan. You're not here to spread the American dream. You're here because you were told to go to Okinawa. You were posted here. If you are in the military, you exist to obey orders.

If you don't like these things, you don't belong in a military organization.

The US military is going through a PR crisis with the Osprey issue and, well, Okinawans just being fed up with so much of their prime land - from their point of view - wasted.

Quoting statistics and pointing out that a newspaper article made a mistake about which branch of the forces the two baboons who made the news recently with a rape doesn't make the acts of violence committed by US military against local Okinawans insignificant.

If the roles were reversed and this were the US instead of Okinawa and there was a huge camp of Japanese military in the centre of your town and one night, your 20 year old daughter was walking home one evening, when one massive guy pinned her arms behind her back to hold her so that the other gorilla could rip her clothes off and rape her, how would you feel?

How would you feel if they deployed experimental aircraft in the centre of the city, taking off and landing over schools, houses, shopping centres, hospitals, etc?

How would you feel if they took up 20 percent of the prime land in that area, with huge bases, that you have to go around for several kilometres if you don't have a pass?

It may be very difficult, but please try to see it from the Okinawans point of view.

I do not, by the way, hate America or Americans. I dislike the military of any country. I've never seen peace come from its use and I've seen pain and heartbreak like you wouldn't believe.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Why so many "Bad" for my comments like these: Mary MarylanderOct. 22, 2012 - 09:06PM JST ".......Indeed. Highly civilised Americans, especially american marines, are known for their low crime rates, at least by Japanese standard." "okimike67, it must be so frightening for you to live in (or visit) such a volent country like japan." "Ranger_Miffy2, it's common sense of the world that genteel, highly-civilised America is diametric opposite of violent Japanese. Americans, especially the marines, are probably as genteel as Koreans, Chinese, etc."

Too true?

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I have never been in Okinawa, but I have lived in North America and in Japan for several years. I cannot judge the crime statistic. But what I am almost sure is that the issue is a cultural issue: 1) Japanese are not used to live with more than 1% foreigner, 2) Americans are noisy. IMHO none is wrong but both put together is explosive.

This sad case with the Japanese woman and two US morons is just putting it at light.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Okinawa & Okinawans have some very ligitimate beefs with bases etc & clearly they deserve some relief in that regard.

However I dont like how those that want bases removed/reduced put this awful rape upfront & centre & harping on & on..........I understand your beefs but they shudnt use this unfortunate cases like this to persue their goals

Awwww...those mean Okinawans are taking advantage of America's embarrassment to push for change. Maybe they are learning from the current American administration whose Secretary of State has declared, "never let a crisis go to waste." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B62igfNu-T0

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Nobody wants to see The United States leave Okinawa FASTER than the Communist Chinese & North Koreans.

Officers need to "Grill The Message" to the New Recruits reporting to The Fleet or Shore Commands for the first time that:

"You are not just a member of The U.S. Armed Forces Overseas, but You are also an Ambassador and a Representative to Your Country and ANY NEGATIVE ACTION towards the people if a Foreign Country (in their Country) will reflect Negatively upon the United States and The U.S. Armed Forces."

I cannnot emphasize that message any stronger...

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Since there are those in the foreign military occupying 20% of the land area of Okinawa who seem to be unable to control themselves, the upper ranks of the US military have to control them.

Bogus statement. Even if you took ALL of the 40,000 or so U.S. military in Japan (not just Okinawa) and place them on one plot of land in Okinawa, you wouldn't occupy .1%, never mind 20% of the land area of Okinawa. In fact, if you have a decent-sized stadium in Naha they'd ALL fit in there! The land and the bases on them do not commit crimes and so mentioning them as justification for your statement is meaningless.

As was stated in the article, the servicemen PLUS their families PLUS the workers brought over from the U.S. only comprise 3% of the population. That 3% of the population only causes .8% of the crime in Okinawa, so obviously the Okinawans are committing more than their "fair share" of the crime in Okinawa. That doesn't get the headlines and protests going, though, so the Okinawans sweep it under the rug.

How would you feel if they deployed experimental aircraft in the centre of the city, taking off and landing over schools, houses, shopping centres, hospitals, etc?

How I would feel is completely irrelevant to this article... as is your question. But I'm wondering what "experimental" aircraft you are talking about? The V-22 Osprey has been in-service for five years and the F-22 has been in-service for seven years. Their "experimental" phases have been over for a while.

How would you feel if they took up 20 percent of the prime land in that area, with huge bases, that you have to go around for several kilometres if you don't have a pass?

Amazing. You'd think that the Okinawans were the ONLY ones that had to deal with bases in and around cities. I've got four words for you: Andrews Air Force Base. It's a funny thing, though. We don't have protests at the gate demanding that the base close because the town of Silver Spring had the unmitigated gall to grow around it. I'm sure land developers would have wet dreams about using that much flat land for development, but you don't hear them crying about the military "taking prime land".

I do not, by the way, hate America or Americans. I dislike the military of any country. I've never seen peace come from its use and I've seen pain and heartbreak like you wouldn't believe.

Your last sentence there is interesting. So the use of the American military did not bring peace to Japan in 1945? The presence of the American military in Japan didn't halt the Soviet advance into Hokkaido before it could start at the end of WWII? You KNOW they wanted to. Armies are best used as a deterrent. Japan painted themselves into a corner by rejecting the military after WWII (though I can understand their thinking at the time). The result is that they are dependent on another country to keep them sovereign, and like it or not Okinawa is the key piece of real estate in that theatre. As such it is going to get the majority of the bases. Even if the Americans were told to move out, the JSDF would need to keep those bases because of Okinawa's situation. Okinawans sometimes act like they believe that, "If only the Americans would leave, all our troubles would be over!" Okinawans ALSO sometimes show an alarming naivety when it comes to world politics. Perhaps that is because they've had other people protecting them for so long that they've lost a step or two when reading the world situation.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"You are not just a member of The U.S. Armed Forces Overseas, but You are also an Ambassador and a Representative to Your Country and ANY NEGATIVE ACTION towards the people if a Foreign Country (in their Country) will reflect Negatively upon the United States and The U.S. Armed Forces."

You are proposing that all service personnel in Okinawa take personal responsibility. Surely you cannot be associated with the US military. Those guys are all over these articles talking about crime statistics, how the Okinawans are responsible for the overcrowding at Futenma (and for not allowing the move to Henoko), how Okinawa would become a Chinese colony tomorrow if the US left today, and how the US presence in Japan has brought the highly beneficial Western civilization and culture to the area.

If you are with the US, congratulations for stating the obvious. It is refreshing. Sadly whether you are with them or not, prepare to be condemned for making this suggestion.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The V-22 Osprey has been in-service for five years and the F-22 has been in-service for seven years. Their "experimental" phases have been over for a while.

And yet the Osprey continues to have systems problems which require constant upgrades. And the F-22 is operationally restricted due to systems failures. Because the US labels them as operational hardly instills confidence in an already tense environment.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Here's a pro tip: Get the crime committed by your OWN people down to an equivilent percentage before you start demanding that the U.S. Military reduce their crime further.

Here's a reality check: Okinawa is not the home of US troops. US troops are guests. It is not your place to comment on the society of a foreign nation regardless of how superior you feel America and its military are.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I don't care if they try to or are "reigning it in." Those women don't get their lives back and neither do the ones who will suffer in the years yet to come. We Americans have no business there period. Especially if we act like those scum.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And yet the Osprey continues to have systems problems which require constant upgrades. And the F-22 is operationally restricted due to systems failures. Because the US labels them as operational hardly instills confidence in an already tense environment.

The U.S. does more than just "label" them operational. They put American servicemen in them and fly them EVERY DAY. That's not an "experimental" aircraft by any definition of the word.

Here's a reality check: Okinawa is not the home of US troops. US troops are guests. It is not your place to comment on the society of a foreign nation regardless of how superior you feel America and its military are.

I didn't say anything about America or America's military being superior. You did. Freudian slip on your part? If a subset of a foreign nation (Okinawan politicians) decides to promote a "resolution" decrying the crime perpetrated by 3% of the Okinawan population - but the crimes commited by that 3% amounts to only 0.8% of the crime in Okinawa, then yes it IS my place to point out the hypocrisy on the part of Okinawan politicians for targeting such a small group and ignoring the fact that 99.2% of Okinawan crime is perpetrated by only 97% of the population - people NOT in that small group. Instead of finding out why a disproportionate share of the crime is perpetrated by Okinawans, they whip-up some smoke and mirrors and wail about the "increasingly severe" crimes committed by American servicemen. Talk about ignoring the elephant in the room!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Okinawa says U.S. military not doing enough to control its personnel

Perhaps. And perhaps Japan's military not doing enough to protect Japan.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The bottom line is this: All other things being equal, 3% of the Okinawan population should be committing 3% of the crime in Okinawa compared to the other 97%. American servicemen, their families, and the workers brought in from the U.S. have only perpetrated about 1/4 of that expected crime rate, but instead of being praised for their law-abiding accomplishments, they're villified for not doing more despite doing better than their Okinawan counterparts. So tell me why Americans shouldn't be upset? Guests? Tell someone who's been living in Okinawa for two years that they're just a "guest". They have invested time and money into making wherever they are living into a home. How many "guests" do that?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Tell someone who's been living in Okinawa for two years that they're just a "guest". They have invested time and money into making wherever they are living into a home. How many "guests" do that?

Not only guests, but long-term guests and, to many in Okinawa, guests who are no longer welcome. It is not for you to determine your status in a foreign nation.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Fadamor, it's so easy to manipulate figures, isn't it ?

anyway, highly civilised Americans, especially american marines, are known for their low crime rates, at least by Japanese standard. It must be so frightening for you to live in (or visit) such a volent country like japan.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

To the person who downrated my comment:

And perhaps Japan's military not doing enough to protect Japan.

I am curious:

do you not think that Japan's security alliance with the US is voluntary on Japan's part?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

do you not think that Japan's security alliance with the US is voluntary on Japan's part?

I did not downrate your comment but it is worthy of it.

The US income tax is, according to Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, is a voluntary tax. So, I ask you, do you pay it voluntarily? I would think that Japan is rather like the US taxpayers in terms of being volunteers.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So you think Japan does not have a choice.

OK, why is it that Japan does not have a choice. They are a sovereign nation, are they not?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

That is the issue for many in Japan. They have yet to Embrace Defeat.

So...you weren't serious when you asked about whether the security agreement was voluntary. Or were you being purposefully deceitful?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Fadamor, it's common sense of the world that genteel, highly-civilised USA is diametric opposite of violent Japanese, isn't it ? Americans, especially the marines, are probably as genteel as Koreans, Chinese, etc. That's why every japanese parents, especially those with teenage daughters, envy the people of Okinawa, Iwakuni, etc. Similar to the fact that every Tokyoites dream of raising their kids in Roppongi, Kabukicho/Okubo (Korean town), Ikebukuro (chinese area), etc.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The treaty is a two way street and U.S. goverment should demand diversifying the base location to Honshu.

The problem is that the US has been salivating over the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa) since Perry's first trip to Asia. In fact, he was the first to plant an American flag there. It is doubtful that America will ever voluntarily give it up.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

JTDanManOct. 23, 2012 - 03:39AM JSTSo you think Japan does not have a choice. OK, why is it that Japan does not have a choice. They are a sovereign nation, are they not?

Japan tried but U.S. won't let them. In 2009, when Hatoyama became a PM of Japan, the Obama administration was aware that there was a section of politicians in Japan who sought distance from U.S. Even many Japanese people started to view Japan’s policies as being dictated by the U.S. and described their own country as “America’s colony”. In particular, right-wing nationalists vouched for reducing reliance on the U.S. and argued that Japan must not be afraid to take a confrontational position in foreign policy. Hatoyama was probably articulating his foreign policy in conformity with the national mood but at the end it proved disastrous. The Obama administration was instrumental in Hatoyama’s ouster from office because of the latter’s inept handling of the Futenma base relocation issue. In 2010, Obama snubbed Hatoyama and weeks later Hatoyama resigned and was replaced by the more U.S. acceptable Naoto Kan. Kan immediately confirmed that the Futenma base issue would proceed according to the US desire. No wonder, when the leaks surfaced, he declined to comment and said that the announcement of information was “not legitimate”. The J-government succumbed to the U.S. pressure to follow its line of thinking. Okinawa may be a problem for Japan but getting out of this is likely to be messy. Japan has no alternative than to preserve its alliance relationship with the U.S. for the foreseeable future.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

sfjp330Oct. 23, 2012 - 03:57AM JST

Excellent. Many Americans do not want to admit to Obama's hand in Hatoyama's ouster. It is doubtful that JTDanMan will accept your comment as he appears to be an ardent Obama supporter judging from his comments on Obama articles.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

sfjp330

First, you historiography has its problems. But, even if for the sake of argument, I accept your version of what happened, you have not advanced your argument. Case in point, you wrote by way of conclusion:

The J-government succumbed to the U.S. pressure to follow its line of thinking

If by succumb you mean chose to stick with the Security Treaty, yes, that is true. Which means, Japan chooses to continue its security alliance with the US. Warts and All.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So...you weren't serious when you asked about whether the security agreement was voluntary. Or were you being purposefully deceitful?

I was alluding to, oh, uhm, uh....what are those things made out a paper...uh, with lots of words in it..uh, with a hard cover...

Oh, yeah,

books.

I was alluding to a seminal book relevant to this discussion.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

SFJP330

I have yet to see you defend your notion that Japan does not want the US in Okinawa.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Tell someone who's been living in Okinawa for two years that they're just a "guest". They have invested time and money into making wherever they are living into a home. How many "guests" do that?

See here is part of the problem, it's part of the mentality of Japanese people.

Tell someone who has been living here for over 30 years, built a home, bought land, raised children, paid taxes, something the US military really don't do, that they are just a guest and you just might start to understand that it's also a part of a larger not openly discussed problem.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

JTDanMan-san,

One has heard of those items to which you refer - books - I think you called them.

Whereas there isn't space for a whole b-o-o-k here, this is an article that might impart a little understanding. For the literary challenged amongst us, reading it may prove a daunting task as there are but few pictures. Perhaps one of those might find an adult to help them with the bigger words.

http://www.japanfocus.org/-Yoshida-Kensei/2857

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tell someone who has been living here for over 30 years, built a home, bought land, raised children, paid taxes, something the US military really don't do, that they are just a guest and you just might start to understand that it's also a part of a larger not openly discussed problem.

While it is unfortunate for people in your situation, you should not use it to condemn the "mentality of Japanese people." Having lived here for as long as you describe, how they think should be well-known to you and, yet, you continue to live here with this understanding. It is not their responsibility or obligation to meet the expectations of visitors and non-citizen residents or make them feel welcome. That said, to be sure, those who know you intimately do not lump you in with the larger population of American troops. I would further conjecture that, if the US military were more thoughtful and accommodating to the concerns and desires of the Okinawans people, the problems faced by long-term residents like yourself would diminish.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Having lived here for as long as you describe, how they think should be well-known to you and, yet, you continue to live here with this understanding

Notice maybe that I wasn't specifically complaining, just pointing out that 2 years and 30 years doesnt matter, the attitudes are the same.

I would further conjecture that, if the US military were more thoughtful and accommodating to the concerns and desires of the Okinawans people, the problems faced by long-term residents like yourself would diminish.

Nope, you fail to understand that Japanese have for the most part an almost inbred subconscious ignorance and fear of foreigners in general. I am not affected in any way by the actions of the US Military here in Okinawa. Where I live there are ZERO and can go months at a time without ever seeing a "Y" number come down the road.

The US military's presecence here does not directly affect those of us foreigners who live here permanently, well maybe it does for the ones that choose to live near the base areas, otherwise it's pretty much a non-issue. We are not grouped into one with them. We are grouped into something totally different......the "gaijin" group.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Rape is a serious crime. Female of all races should be able to enjoy an outing without fear of being rape and the government together with the US military authority (Okinawa base) should ensure that such a safe environment which means a lot more education for the "guest"prior to their posting as well cultural understanding between two nations.

As the use of Okinawa Island for the US Military base is an arrangement between Japan and the United State then it is up to the Japan and US government to arrived at a some form of solution to safe guard the safety of the locals and in doing so also allow the US military personnel to enjoy the Okinawan hospitality.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are many foreigners who do not have the same experience as you in this regard and are quite well accepted within their communities

You assume much! I never shared my situation nor how I am treated in the community I live in. Even those here in Japan, like me, who do well in their communities, are not accepted as such outside of them. That is a fact of life here.

I do not have a negative opinion of Japanese people, I am merely stating facts, like it or not Japanese people in general have a misunderstanding and ignorance about foreigners, that is a fact. The lack of education regarding acceptance of things and people that are different affect everyone.

Maybe if you treated the Japanese with respect as your host (meaning you act like a guest) instead of complaining that they do not do enough to accept you, you might be treated differently

LMAO at this........I never shared how I have been treated, you assume too much here. I am not however blind to the reality of how Japanese view foreigners in general.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Fact: Okinawa being a part of Japan has a responsibility as a prefecture to assist in the defense of the country if necessary.

Fact: The national government has made the decision to enter into a security pact with the US and part of that agreement is the bases here in Okinawa.

Fact: Situations change, MCAS Futenma needs to be relocated ASAP However as long as the local politicians refuse to agree to it moving to Henoko or incorporated into Kadena the base will stay right where it is.

Fact: The US Military is not going to stand and wait around for the Japanese government is going to do with their thumbs up their you know where, in deciding to improve and update their capabilities, ie the Osprey.

Fact: The issue is at best emotionally charged and it's hard for people to think clearly when emotions are involved.

Fact: The US Military has done an outstanding job in improving the behavior of it's troops in Okinawa, no matter what any politician or press statement may say otherwise.

Fact: There are plenty of people in Okinawa, quite possibly a silent majority, that are apathetic to the bases being here and in fact view them as a viable source of steady and stable employment. Which btw is extremely hard to find anywhere else on island.

Fact: The minimum wage on Okinawa is 653 yen per hour, raised to that on October 25th , 2012, the people who work on base would end up in poverty or worse if the bases closed.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Yubaru,

There is much good about the U.S.A. but there is much that needs changing as well if it wants to be a part of the "global-world". The world is not going to adapt to the U.S.A., and for the U.S.A. to succeed again it has to adapt and accept changes that are more than just cosmetic.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

rickyveeOCT. 22, 2012 - 05:05PM JST can we at least wait for a conviction before damning these men and the whole us military?

we could if this was the first time, but it wasn't so uuuum.... NO.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

JTDanMan

I have yet to see you defend your notion that Japan does not want the US in Okinawa.

"I have yet to see you defend your notion that Japan does not want the US bases in Okinawa.

FIXED.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Surely, the Japanese readers here should be able to defend themselves from this insult.

While some may find it insulting it does not change the truth. Japan and it's people like to think that they are ethnocentric and their views of the world are extrememly narrow. Ignorance is not an insult, it's stating a fact of a lack of education about people and the world.

There is no one who has been living here for any lenght of time that can say with of straight face that Japanese people are tolerant of foreigners.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Japan and it's people like to think that they are ethnocentric and their views of the world are extrememly narrow. Ignorance is not an insult, it's stating a fact of a lack of education about people and the world.

Because it is your opinion does not make it a truth. But even if everyone in the world except the Japanese felt this way, it is not for them to judge except out of lack of respect for the Japanese people and their culture. Who makes you the decider of others' beliefs? I'll answer it for you, no one.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Please stop bickering with other readers.

It is part of a - conscious or not - neo-colonialist attitude consisting in going to a foreign country and telling them that they should change their ways because they are 'wrong'.

For several of the most visible US advocates here, it is a decidedly conscious attitude meant to manipulate the conversations. You may be correct about Europeans in this regard, though, I have no personal experience. At least most Europeans I have met do not discuss it and certainly don't spend all day on websites whining about it.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am most often a US advocate although I will not condone everything they do. As for this kind of attitude, it is pure irony that it would lead them to call others 'ethnocentric'. Most of the time it comes from a simplified vision of the world where they are in possession of the 'universal' truth and anything that deviates from that is wrong. I say just a lack of perspective...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Something about 'former occupation forces' and 'r*ping locals' touched a nerve :-)

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mary Marylander: "and, why do you continue to be in japan ?"

Ah, the bottom of the barrel retort -- the answer when you cannot come up with any viable argument for debate. Nicely done. Why should I leave Japan because I don't agree with a bunch of whining Okinawans who DEPEND on what they are whining about?

"smithinjapan, why do you think Okinawan people's 祖国復帰 (back to the motherland) campaigns under the American occupation was so intense ?"

Because once they had milked enough money off the bases to live on their own, forgetting how desperate they were with hands out after the war, they forgot how they survived and made a living and decided they needed to whine about something.

"I guess it would be much better for you to go back to your beloved Korea where American soldiers are loved so much."

I'm not from Korea, Mary, so your attempt at insult of both me and that nation are moot. The facts remain the facts, despite your attempts at deflection -- these people are whining about the very thing they have lived off, and are protected by. The two soldiers in question should indeed be punished, but these fools saying 'get rid of the bases' because of an act committed 99% of the time by Japanese and only 1% or LESS by the people protecting them is ridiculous. The minute the US left, they'd be whining about how they've been abandoned.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I'm sorry ahead of time here but are you being serious or sarcastic?

Both. Okinawa's issues run much, much deeper than the US military being there. Who made Okinawa battle ground it became? It certainly wasn't the US. Who insisted on mass suicides and scared the population with lies about the US. It wasn't the Americans. Who continues to reject Okinawans and thinks of them as below the main island Japanese? The Japanese. Do you think high rates of unemployment, low working wages, lowest standard test scores... would change if the US left? Nope. In fact, some of these things would get worse. Why? Because the Japanese as a whole doesn't give a damn abotu Okinawa, nor do they see "them" as real Japanese. Okinawa is an island for holidays with kawaii mini pineapples. That's as far as most Japanese think about Okinawa. Japan ruined and continues to ruin Okinawa, not the US.

And well said Smith.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Great reading! Has anyone listened to Eagle 8.10 commercial? " Tokyo women love to have it whispered in their ears!" Every service member knows what they are supposed to do! When I worked in the Japanese Judicial system I had access to a lot of information and statistics! Over 99% of all crimes are related to drinking! Anyone who has been near these bases knows of the seedy nightlife and bars! Let's step into reality! Does anyone know what is under the airstrip at Futema??? They will NEVER move that base!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Because once they had milked enough money off the bases to live on their own, forgetting how desperate they were with hands out after the war, they forgot how they survived and made a living and decided they needed to whine about something.

Ah...so. the Kevin Maher attack, deceitful and lazy Okinawa people. yes, we hear that often from gaijin who don't like Okinawa opposition. we use it to rally support.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

CONGRATULATIONS! BLOW THINGS OUT OF PROPORTION TO FURTHER FEAR MONGERING. But before you do read carefully what it says in the article before running down to the comments section and throwing your two cents out there.

**Figures from the Okinawa prefectural police show the percentage of crimes committed by this group has fallen from a high in 1973 of 6.9% of all crimes to 0.8% in 2011.

Last year, the group accounted for around 3% of Okinawa’s total population.**

THREE PERCENT! Now that is not even news. What is sad is a bunch of people are trying to promote fear mongering and ignoring elephant in the room of the fact that 97% of the crime is being committed by natives. So, ignore the natives who commit most of the crimes and focus on the measly 3%.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

CONGRATULATIONS! BLOW THINGS OUT OF PROPORTION TO FURTHER FEAR MONGERING

Yup, quite interesting that the apologists for Okinawa won't admit it either.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Excuse me. I meant to say 99% of the crime is committed by natives, not 97%.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"he alleged rape of a Japanese woman by two U.S. servicemen, as temperatures rose over the large U.S. presence." thats just an Excuse from Japan Government to keep pressure on U.S personnel's ,as they hope it would reduce the number of U.S personnels in Japan,wtf are they dreaming?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites