Protest Statement against Sexual Assault by US Sailors and Demand for Withdrawal of US Military from Okinawa

***Please see Japanese Translation below***

Hirokazu Nakaima, Govenor of Okinawa Prefecture
Yoshihiko Noda, Prime Minister
Koichiro Genba, Foreign Minister
Satoshi Morimoto, Defense Minister
Barack Obama, President of the United States
John V. Roos, U.S. Ambassador to Japan
Kenneth Glueck, Okinawa Area Coordinator and Commanding General of III Marine Expeditionary Force
Alfred Magleby, U.S. Consul General of Naha, Okinawa

October 17, 2012

Protest Statement against Sexual Assault by US Sailors and
Demand for Withdrawal of US Military from Okinawa

We, people of Okinawa, particularly women, have suffered as a result of the long-term stationing of US military and their bases in Okinawa. We are deeply shocked and outraged at the alleged gang-rape and injury committed by US sailors on October 16th. It has been reported that the victim was attacked as she was walking home alone from work and that she had a mark of possible strangulation on her neck. We strongly deplore such a crime that targeted a woman, violating her freedom and safety. We remember another recent sexual assault case by a US soldier in Naha in August this year, and hundreds of others over many years.
The perpetrators, two US sailors, had arrived at Kadena Air Base from the US mainland on transport duty, staying over in Okinawa for only two nights. The crime was reported to have been committed within a few hours before they were to depart Okinawa for Guam, the next stop on their return to the US. We are appalled by the fact that they committed this sexual crime during their brief tour of duty. This clearly reveals the violence structured into the institution of the military. If the victim had not reported the crime to the local police quickly enough, the perpetrators would have left Okinawa without being apprehended. Then the crime would never have been disclosed.
Moreover, the unsafe Marine Corps aircraft, the MV-22 Osprey, has been forcibly deployed in Okinawa recently, ignoring the very strong protest of Okinawan citizens. These planes are now flying over residential areas, posing a deep threat from the air to people of Okinawa. On the ground, the numerous cases of sexual assault accidents and other crimes continue to pose another threat to Okinawan people. We recently learned from the Department of Defense Annual Report of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program that in Fiscal Year 2011, the rate of sexual assaults against female soldiers on the bases in Okinawa was twice as high as that of other bases. This statistic does not even include sexual assaults against Okinawan women.
Since June 2006, the US military in Okinawa has issued a midnight curfew on soldiers for an indefinite period in order to cope with frequent occurrences of crimes committed by US soldiers, including hit & runs or taxi robberies. The perpetrators of this particular sexual assault were not subject to this curfew as they are not stationed in Okinawa. We question whether any disciplinary measures are taken regarding those military personnel who stay in Okinawa temporarily.
The physical and psychological pain and the fear that the victim has to endure must be enormous. The care and treatment for the victim needs to be the first priority, and the perpetrators must be strictly punished. Repeated cases of violence against women by US soldiers and a long-standing pattern of human rights violations against Okinawan people by US soldiers demonstrate the insecurity and threat caused by the long-term stationing of the US military to the lives and dignity of Okinawan people. We also need to be mindful of a number of other victims of sexual assault by US soldiers who could not come forward.
Standing on our analysis that the military is an institution in which violence is intrinsic and that the military does not provide genuine security in local communities or among nations, we demand the following:
· Respect for the privacy of the woman victim, and physical and psychological care for her.
· Apology to be issued to the woman victim by US military authorities; and the perpetrators to be strictly punished.
· Banning of all off-base activities for all US military personnel, in order to secure safe living environments for women and children.
· Withdrawal of all US military bases from Okinawa.

Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence
3-29-41-402 Kumoji, Naha
Okianawa, 900-0015 Japan
Ph. Fax: +81-98-864-1539

***************Japanese translation***************
沖縄県知事 仲井真弘多 殿
内閣総理大臣 野田佳彦 殿
外務大臣  玄葉光一郎 殿
防衛大臣  森本敏 殿
アメリカ合衆国 オバマ大統領 殿
駐日米大使 ジョン・V・ルース 殿
在沖四軍調整官 ケネス・グリューク 殿
在沖米総領事 アルフレッド・マグルビー 殿

基地・軍隊の長期的な駐留を強いられている私たち沖縄県民・女性は、昨日未明(10月16日)に発生した海軍兵士による集団強姦致傷事件にショックと強 い憤りを覚えます。「仕事を終えて自宅へ一人で歩いて戻っているところを襲った。女性の首には絞められたような跡があった。」と報じられていますが、帰宅 途中の女性を標的にその自由と安全を奪い恐怖の中に暴力を行使する許しがたい犯罪です。去る8月に那覇市内で起きた強制わいせつ致傷事件をも喚起されま す。

今回の加害海軍兵士の犯行は、米本国の基地より輸送任務で嘉手納基地に飛来し、沖縄滞在は2泊で、しかも数時間後には離沖するとい う中で起こしており、 軍の任務遂行中で性暴力をはたらくことに、軍隊の構造的暴力が露呈されています。被害者の通報が適時になされたからこそ加害者逮捕に至りましたが、さもな ければ、性暴力は隠蔽され、任務遂行となっていたことになります。

さらに、県民の強い反対の声を封殺するかのように強行配備された MV22オスプレイ機が住民の頭上で飛行訓練するのはまさに「空飛ぶ凶器」であり、陸上 においては米兵の性暴力、事件事故は「歩く凶器」だと言えます。前年度の全米海兵隊における女性兵士に対する性暴力事件が、その発生率で他の基地の約2倍 にもなることも、8月に知らされたばかりです。しかしそれは、今回のような沖縄女性に対する性犯罪を除外したものなのです。 米軍は、ひき逃げ死亡事故、 タクシー強盗など米兵による事件事故の多発により、2010年の6月から兵士の深夜零時以降の外出禁止令を無期限で発していましたが、今回の事件は、その 枠外で起こっており、在沖米軍以外の米軍人に対しては、どのような規律が存在するのか疑問です。

被害にあった女性が受けた心身の痛みと 恐怖は計り知れず、その回復が最重要視され、加害者への厳正な処罰がなされなければなりません。米軍駐留の長い年 月の中で、度重なる米軍の女性に対する暴力、人権侵害事件の発生は、米軍駐留がいかに住民のいのちと尊厳を脅かすものであるかを示しています。あわせて、 米兵による性暴力被害を訴え出られない女性が決して少なくないことを忘れてはなりません。




共同代表 高里鈴代 糸数慶子

〒900-0015 那覇市久茂地3-29-41-402
電話・ファックス 864-1539

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