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View Full Version : The defiling of Okinawa. This must end.



M.Logan
29th June 2001, 12:31
Hi all,
This is my first post on this board, so hello to all the other members who frequent it, and also to Doug Daulton who manages it.

Having got up this morning I read the news to discover, much to my extreme dissapointment (in fact, I think that is too trivial a word, anger is more like it) that yet another 'incident' has occured between U.S force members stationed on Okinawa and female OKinawan citizen.

****************
TOKYO (Reuters) - A young Japanese woman was raped early on Friday on the southern island of Okinawa, reluctant host to the bulk of U.S. forces in Japan, and police said they were questioning several U.S. servicemen.

``We believe the act was carried out by one man, believed to be a foreigner,'' an official of the Okinawa prefectural police, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

``But there may be others who cooperated

(as quoted from Yahoo news)

******************


I am again shocked and sickened by this. When are people going to take a stand against the U.S and their military presence on Okinawa.
In fact, does anyone really care?

While I realise that citizens on Okinawa are unhappy with the situation,and that not all U.S service-people are criminals this does not help matters.

The U.S.A has been getting away with crimes like this for too long and it is about time that they moved out.

I care little for their status as a world power. I do care when innocents are violated by sick individuals who clearly should not be present in the military.


Does anyone have any opinions on this issue?
Can anything be done to move towards removing US military presence from Okinawa?
Are there any other suporters of their removal anywhere else?



Any replies would be appreciated, as this is an issue I feel strongly about.


Sincerely,
Matt Logan.

Rob
29th June 2001, 13:40
Matt

Whilst I share your shock and disgust at this attack (as, I would assume, does every other member of this forum). I would like to make a few points.

Firstly, at the moment there is no PROOF, that this vile act was perpertrated by an American serviceman. In fact the only thing that we do know with some degree of certainty is that the victim has accused one or more foreigners of being involved. Until someone has been convicted of a crime then IMHO you simply cannot start laying blame.

Secondly even IF, an American service man or men is convicted then that does not make it a crime perpertrated by America. It is still the actions of warped and sick individual.

By your logic then the UK has also been guilty of a number of crimes in recent years where UK serviceman have been convicted of rape and assault whilst stationed abroad, are you also suggesting we should withdraw all of our serviceman from abroad ?

Countries do not commit these sorts of crimes, individuals do.

M.Logan
29th June 2001, 15:29
Rob,
Thanks for your reply. I appreciate the points which you made in your post.
Perhaps I approached this topic a little too heavy-handed, so to speak.


Firstly you say that there is no proof that this act was commited by an Amerian serviceman. Fair enough. You are right there. But, what are the odds that it wasn't? Not too high I think.
After all, such individuals have proven themselves capable of such acts before. It seems that while the US are present on the island(s) then the unfortunate people are at the mercy of an organisation which has little respect for their wellbeing or safety.
If the US really cared about this matter then they would work towards solving it.
As it stands, all they want troops in Okinawa for, in my opinion, is to retain a power base in Japan and the South China Sea in general.

They care little for the people or the culture of Okinawa.
While there are probably individuals who do, this doesn't make up for the fact that crimes like this can be perpetrated and then avoided for 'conveniance' of US-Japan relations.


Yes, there are UK servicemen who probably do the same thing and they are no less guilty either.
It's just that I decided to highlight the plight of Okinawa, as I saw it in the news this morning.
Perhaps I do feel too strongly about it.
But, on the other hand, the UK doesn't feel the need to station troops in Okinawa. Of course, the UK doesn't have any bad memories of WW2 to compensate for, unlike the US who seem eager to fan the flames of old rivalries.


Don't misunderstand me, I'm not having a dig at the USA or its servicemen as a whole. It would be wrong to generalise in such a fashion.

I just believe that Okinawa has seen enough of this, and, in all honesty, deserves some respite.



With respect,
Matt Logan.

scoundrel
29th June 2001, 16:36
Matt, don't take this the wrong way, but you don't know jack sh*t about what's going on in Okinawa. As an American serviceman who lived in Okinawa for four years (and will be going back for another four in a few months), I think I am qualified to enlighten you to some realities about the American military presence in Okinawa.

First, let me be the first to say that the Okinawans do bear a disproportionate amount of the American military presence in Japan. The U.S. miltary owns approximately 75% of the land in Okinawa. This one prefecture contains over 50% of Japan's American military commitments.

Now that having been said, let's look at a few points not likely to be covered by the mainstream media.

1. The American military presence funnels an INCREDIBLE amount of money into the Okinawan economy in several ways.

Personal spending: American servicemen spend a significant portion of their paycheck in the local economy.

Rent: The American government spends hundreds of millions of dollars for everything from rent for housing to leasing land used for military installations.

Japanese government spending: Because of the SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) between Japan and the U.S., all expenses are paid for by the Japanese. This includes all construction, power, water, infrastructure improvements, and various contracts. Adds up to many hundreds of millions of dollars. These are funds that, if the US wasn't there, they would never see. Okinawa is the poorest prefecture in Japan, even with the enormous amounts of Japanese government money funneled through the US presence.

Employment: thousands of Okinawans are employed in various American bases in a multitude of capacities.

2. American servicemen are the most law-abiding component of the Okinawan population. According to crime statistics compiled by the Okinawan government, American military personnel are ten times LESS likely to commit crimes than native Okinawans.

Remember the famous case of the three servicemen that raped a 14 year old school girl that touched off waves of protests and brought world-wide attention to the American military presence on Okinawa? What you probably didn't hear was that on the very next day, an Okinawan business man was arrested for the kidnap/rape of a 12 year old school girl. All this in the same country where grade-school kids can buy "rape-manga" and rent movies featuring the adventures of the intrepid hero "Rapeman".

As a side note, before the rape incident, the local communist parties used to pay people approximately $50 a head so they could get a decent showing for protests in front of US bases. My friends and I had a good laugh about that ("$50? Heck, give me that sign! Yankee go home...")

3. The real reason for the recent push for land return: big-money real estate developers, along with Japanese resort consortiums have been lusting after American miltary land for decades because they sit on some of Okinawa's prime real estate. If it was up to them, they would turn Okinawa into one big beach resort. Ota, Okinawa's last governor (who rode to victory by demogoguing about the U.S. miltary) had grandiose pipe dreams of turning Okinawa into a regional free-trade/shipping hub by developing land now owned by the US military.

How they are going to do that, when they can't even figure out what to do with prime Naha real estate that was returned in the 70's is beyond me. The Okinawan bureaucracy can't decide what to do with the land, but they have also prohibited the owner from developing it. So that unfortunate individual is now paying taxes on land he can't develop, without any rent coming from the American government.

Most American servicemen (and servicewomen) are respectful of the Okinawans and really do try to be ambassadors of good will.

As far as wanting a power base in the region, just remember that the Chinese still view themselves as the "middle kingdom" and are working feverish to that end. Remember: nature abhors a vacumn.

Dojorat
29th June 2001, 17:38
Greetins Matt,

At the risk of misconstruing a connection between rape and sex... your forebears in the mid-40's had a saying regarding the presense of American soldiers on another island. They were said to be "oversexed, overpaid, and over here"

However, considering the alternative, I do believe most Britains were glad the Yanks had decided to come in on their side of the fracas. Otherwise, sprechen ze Deutche, Herr Matt?

In keeping with the suggestion of a previous contributor to this thread, before we cast all US service personnel into the void, might we examine the arrest records for the Queen's outposts such as Belfast, N.I., Gibraltar, Spain, Hong Kong and then compare notes. Let he who's nation has not sinned, cast the first stone.

I suggest you wander over to the Aikido Journal website and pick up an excellent article by John Williams entitled "Virtue of the Sword" Some interesting points to ponder in light of this story of heinous acts on the part of our men at arms.

Cheers and sleep well tonight in the warmth and security granted you at the (sometimes ultimate) expense of some lonely young service personnel far from home.

Michael Becker
30th June 2001, 12:19
I for one am immensely grateful for the presence and sacrifice of the US armed forces around the world.

For anyone to question why the US should have a presence in Japan/Okinawa shows they have little grasp of either recent history or current affairs.

Mr Logan, you might want to go and live in Taiwan and then demand the removal of the US presence from SE Asia. Should you get your way you will probably have the pleasure of welcoming the PRC's armed forces as they bring Taiwan 'back to the fold'. Finally, when you get sick of rule under the communists, you can have a rant at them. This will get you a holiday in one of their labour camps, perhaps with some in house 'entertainment' thrown in.

Rape is a despicable crime, commited by individuals that deserve severe punishment. Such an incident does not however justify the condemnation of an entire nation. I personally would save such words for those that invade countries, commiting mass attrocities while they go ( China in Tibet-China in Taiwan if they get the chance?-China in Japan should it ever happen? ).

Yes, I am very grateful for the presence of US troops around the world indeed.

Please not lets this degenerate into a 'them and us' arguement- Mr Logan speaks for himself alone and as it has been rightly pointed out before, no nation has a monopoly on virtue.

M.Logan
5th July 2001, 12:17
I kinda figured that this thread would get peoples backs up.

This wasn't my intention, so I apologise if I have caused any offence.

Thankyou for the more informed replies, especially the one with the article suggestion, I shall take a look.

And, while I am willing to broaden my views may I also suggest that some of you do the same.
Replies such as "you don't know jack ****" are certainly not warranted in an environment which is meant to abide by certain regulations for mature discussion.

My sentiment is not specifically anti-US, more an example of what can go in areas where certain conditions are prevalent.



Matt.

Hank Irwin
5th July 2001, 23:51
In what I know from studies Okinawa has taken too much from too many for too many years. Wasn't it Admiral Perry that gave the Okinawan's an untimatum to either open it's doors to trade or face war? The Satsuma's, the Battle of Okinawa, the famine and natural disasters that have riddled Okinawa for hundreds of years is astounding to say the least. I think the American presense on Okinawa for so long is a necessary thing. If not, then Japan would have complete control, at that point I think Okinawa would die. The Japanese are doing so much to commercialize Okinawa right not that it's unbelievable. They are even "creating" new land to build on, adding to the soil. I wonder how this will effect the natural water resources in and around Okinawa. Most of us here don't know squat about what is really happening there, and would probably be best if we didn't. My romantic notions of going there flew out the window a few years ago.

M.Logan
6th July 2001, 00:34
Hi Hank,
Thanks for your reply.

" Okinawa has taken too much from too many for too many years. "

Yes, I agree with you on that point. I failed to consider the fact that Okinawa is independant from Japan and that the Japanese government would ,no doubt, wish to commercialise the islands.

Perhaps, in this respect, US presence does have some benefit.


It just saddens me to see all the problems caused by people who really don't have the best interests of anyone other than themselves to think of.


Thanks again.



Matt Logan

Hank Irwin
6th July 2001, 03:34
Hey Guy's, Gals if your're out there. You know, it's just too bad we don't do things like that General nowadays. Or maybe a castration "booth" I bet we would get some attention then. There are a lot, I mean a LOT of individuals that join the service just to abuse their privilidges. We see the same thing happening with a lot of our Law Inforcement too. If we ever needed Martial Virtues, now is the time. Heiwa to all!

M.Logan
6th July 2001, 09:47
It' good to see that this thread has generated so much positive interest in Okinawa's current situation.


From what I have read of your replies it seems that there are many problems inherent with the military presence, perhaps outweighing any benefits.
The details given by Mr.Kass are particularly worrying.
Why is it that mankind seems so intent on destroying all that is good?


On the rape situation, I believe that talks between the Japanse and US governments have ended with the decision to hand over the....criminal....involved.
I hope that he gets everything that's coming to him and then some.
Still, I very much doubt that this will solve the problem as a whole.
Perhaps an example needs to be made?


As for the gallows/"castration booth" idea. Yup!!! :look:
Seriously though, have things fallen so far that men should be allowed to commit such acts and know that they will most likely get away with it?
This gives not only the military a bad image, but also the nation as a whole which isn't fair on the many law-abiding and hardworking individuals.


Guess, we'll have to await the verdict on this one.



Regards,
Matt Logan

Dojorat
6th July 2001, 19:53
Greetins,

To paraphrase... "Criminal..." "...gets what's coming to him..."

Whatever happened to the idea of "innocent until proven guilty?" and "beyond a reasonable doubt" I know of another case of supposed rape by a gang of men in NYC which proved to be a complete sham and a trumped up scam whose only apparent purpose was to elevate the political agenda of a few publicity hungry rabble rousers.

I can't wait for those noble "Revrunds" to fly over and claim be speak for the benefit of the poor downtrodden Okinawans.

The lady is purposely blindfolded with a set of balanced scales and an unsheathed sword at the ready. Let justice have its day.

Cheers,

M.Logan
9th July 2001, 10:18
Well, let's just hope that justice will out and that the case doesn't prove to be some complex political cover-up or such-like.

M.Logan
10th July 2001, 11:01
Hi Robert,
It's good that they've atually got some positive ID on this bozo via the witnesses.


As fot the legal proceedeings....hmmmm....bit of a gray area isn't it? The whole interpretation issue I can't figure out.

I understand that the US gets to waive by a lot of laws which would normally apply to any citizen in Okinawa.
Especially as far as the military is concerned.
Perhaps some change to the Staus of Forces Agreement is needed?

Asia
11th July 2001, 09:46
"If I was on S.O.F.A. most likely the traffic cop would have let me go with a warning."

This isn't always true. The SOFA isn't a 'getway free card' you can be punished and hassled by the local authority but the US Forces will be notified. (Not that I know this from personal experience:D)


Everywhere soldiers are stationed you will have good ones and bad ones. When I was in Korea long ago two soldiers raped and mutilated a Korean prostitute. This caused a lot of public out cry. I missed school for two days because of riots and demostrations.

M.Logan
11th July 2001, 10:09
Hi all,
Sheesh Robert, all that hassle for just a traffic violation huh? I guess that the 'gaijin factor' probably played a part somewhere.
If the same applied to others (ie. armed forces) then perhaps they'd be more reluctant to commit crimes.

Hi Asia, thanks for the reply. Yup, you're right. There are good and bad individuals everywhere.
However. Something must be done to deter the potential offenders, and, if they do offend, then they must be viewed as regular citizens would be.
Being exempted just because of your job/occupation seems wrong.


Anyway. Thanks again for the replies folks.


Regards,
Matt Logan

scoundrel
11th July 2001, 16:41
Are US armed forces accorded special legal protection? Yes. But let us put that fact into proper context. We are NOT an army of occupation. The US military is there, ostensibly, at the invitation of the host government for protection and regional stability. If the balloon goes up, those servicemen and women will be fighting and dying defending countries far away from home. Also, some of the countries that we are based in have a lot less respect for due process than the U.S. Even in modern, industrial countries like Japan, their concept of due process is somewhat sketchy. Add to that their xenophobic nature, along with domestic politics, and I can easily see the need for a little extra legal protection.

M.Logan
12th July 2001, 10:49
Legal protection is all well and good, but how much is too much?

Doug Daulton
21st July 2001, 18:49
Matt ... a belated welcome to e-Budo.

OK, here's my 50 Yen.

SOFA benefits under the law are generally valid for the reasons Mr. Choi points out. US soldiers are there at the invitation of the host country. In the event of war, these men and women will fight, bleed and die for the people of Okinawa and Japan. So, letting the occasional speeding ticket go is a small indulgence out of respect for the potential costs.

That said, SOFA should not be used to gloss over major crimes (felonies by the US standard) such as rape, murder and grand larceny. It not only disrespects the victims of these crimes, it gives the US Armed Forces a black eye. Individuals who commit these crimes should and most likely will, if convicted, be tossed from the Armed Services and/or worse, be subjected to military justice which can be far more harsh than civil justice.

As a former local govt. investigator of child sexual assault, I worked three cases involving US. Servicemen on leave. Two of these cases resulted in convictions. In both convictions, the military response was swift and far more harsh than what local/state courts would have handed down. While this may be different on foreign soil, I get the feeling this is not generally the case.

That said, Okinawa has historically been subject to foreign occupation, invited or other. It is the nature of the beast given her strategic military and trading position in the East China Sea. Now, as several folks have mentioned, there is a push by the mainland to turn Okinawa into Japan's Hawaii. This is regrettable. Again, be it resorts run by mainland Japanese, chemical weapons leakages from US military bases or simply the systematic purging of Hogen and other Uchinan dialects in favor of English of Nihongo, the Uchinanchu take the economic, environmental and cultural hit.

It is sad, but certainly not unprecedented. Just ask Native Americans, the Hawaiian/Samoans or the Incans (to name a few). The core question is ... what can be done about it? Rather than simply railing at the gods, take some action, small or large to support Uchina (Okinawa), her sister islands in the Ryukyus and all of their people and traditions.

By the way, if you consider yourself a teacher of an Okinawan martial art, take a long hard look at yourself before you glibly say "I do my part ... I teach Okinawan budo." Of late, many folks have jumped on the "koryu" bandwagon with mainland Japanese arts. Everyone seems to want to legitimize their efforts and arts by calling them "koryu". Sometimes this is appropriate, more often it is not. Unfortunately, the same dynamic is beginning to creep into the Ryukyuan arts as well.

If you practice an art that was derived by a someone in Los Angeles who trained with an Okinawan once, you are not practicing an Okinawan art. You are practicing a Los Angelan art with poorly conceived Okinawan trappings. It may have martial value, but it is not an Okinawan art and should not be labeled as such. So often I hear people spew forth their lineage and as if they were gospel and it is clear they are doing so to bolster their own contrived legitimacy. I listen patiently and politely. Then, I watch their technique. That tells me all I need to know and the message is usually bad. Talk about raping Uchinanchu culture ...

So if you think you practice an Okinawan art but aren't sure, do yourself and more importantly Okinawa a favor, and don't let your ego get the best of you when talking about Okinawa. With both feet in your mouth, it is hard to do waza.

::: Stepping down off my soapbox now :::

<b>NOTE:</b> The rant above was not directed at anyone who has so far posted on this thread. Rather, it reflects a frustration/experience which has been brewing for sometime.

Regards,

IchiRiKen1
23rd July 2001, 04:40
I am currently stationed at Camp Zama, Kanagawa-ken, Honshu, Japan, Headquarters of the United States Army - Japan (Mr. Power was stationed here once upon a time).

I work in the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate ("Legal" for you unwashed non-knowing any better types) and while I cannot comment on what I do or do not know pursuant to any investigations or cases currently ongoing, nor do I presume to make a statement on behalf of anyone other than myself (not the command, my unit, or anything, just my own meandering opinions and experiences), I can say that the overall amount of criminal cases in my time here (2 1/2 years so far) dealing with rape or other similarly offensive and heinous crimes has been nil. I can't speak for the other services.

Something I think hasn't been taken in to consideration fully is that of the 50,000 plus servicemen and women currently assigned to Japan, when you look at the percentage of crimes given the total military population it is amazingly small. At my last duty station I had only 3% of the numbers here and had at least five times the volume of judicial and nonjudicial actions! That was in our own midwestern backyard.

It must also be borne in mind (as was mentioned in a post earlier than mine) that much of the same kinds of crimes occur in Japan and Okinawa, committed by Japanese and Okinawans, but gets much less coverage... There are posters in the train stations with pictures of schoolgirls wagging their fingers and encouraging people "Don't be a pervert!" Sexual assaults occur frequently here, they simply go unreported or receive no media attention. With the current political situation in Japan and Korea (especially regarding the proposed rewrite of the SOFA), it is big news (and therefore big money) to publish info on the misconduct of the big bad American.

As with all things discussed on E-Budo and other martial arts forums that are primarily for English speaking Westerners, remember to try to put things into the proper cultural frame of reference before getting too pissed off and judgemental...

Doug Daulton
23rd July 2001, 14:41
Originally posted by IchiRiKen1 ... Something I think hasn't been taken in to consideration fully is that of the 50,000 plus servicemen and women currently assigned to Japan, when you look at the percentage of crimes given the total military population it is amazingly small. At my last duty station I had only 3% of the numbers here and had at least five times the volume of judicial and nonjudicial actions! That was in our own midwestern backyard.Matt,

Upon rereading my previous post, I think wrote poorly and may have come off sounding like servicemen/women were deviants and the JAG was lax. That was not most certainly not my intention.

The service men I referred to were 3 alleged perpetrators from two of approximately 1500+ cases I investigated. The rest were U.S. civilians, including CEOs, ministers, low-level politicians and several other "community leaders". The point I was ham-handedly trying to make is that sexual-deviants come in all shapes and sizes, not just in the US military.

Furthermore, in the rare cases where such actions do take place in the US military, the JAG takes such infractions very, very seriously (at least in my experience.) While my experiences were in the US with servicemen on leave, I have no reason to believe the response of a JAG office on foreign soil would be any less quick, thorough or harsh if the alleged perp was found guilty.


Originally posted by IchiRiKen1 ... It must also be borne in mind (as was mentioned in a post earlier than mine) that much of the same kinds of crimes occur in Japan and Okinawa, committed by Japanese and Okinawans, but gets much less coverage... There are posters in the train stations with pictures of schoolgirls wagging their fingers and encouraging people "Don't be a pervert!"I can also vouch for this. I have seen signs similar to "No Smoking" signs on Tokyo subways. Rather than a cigarette, the red line goes through leering salaryman pinching the bottom of a young woman. I also understand that one particular line is known as the "Masher" train. While on this train, young women (Japanese & gaijin) are frequently pawed, groped and otherwise violated by men who take advantage of the terribly tight quarters to grab an "anonymous" feel.

Again, sexual impropriety/deviance knows no occupational or cultural bounds.

Thanks again Matt for adding the JAG perspective to the thread.

Regards,