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b_rieux at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 24 23:47:54 MDT 2003
Because rape and imperial dominion over the Ryukus is
a good thing, right?
The Human Rights of Children and Women under the U.S.
The U.S. Military Occupation Continues Even After
Okinawa's Reversion to Japan
Following the 1995 incident in which U.S. soldiers
raped an elementary school girl, women in Okinawa
began to investigate incidents of rape which had
occurred after WWII. First, they collected newspaper
clippings and cases on which they had already acquired
testimonies. Although this were not a full-scale
interview survey, a picture of the post-war rape
incidents began to be revealed. According to a report
entitled "Post-War Crimes against Women of Okinawa by
U.S. Soldiers" by the Association of Women in Action
Against Military and Military Bases, the number of
rape cases between 1945 and 1997 was about 180, 22 of
which were committed against young women less than 20
years of age. A 9-month-old baby was even included.
However, this figure is only the tip of the iceberg.
Many of the crimes committed by soldiers have not been
disclosed. The problems of rapes of women in Okinawa
during and after the war remain to be revealed.
One thing that was revealed was that there were
frequent group rapes by soldiers in various parts of
Okinawa. In one certain village, where there were no
men after the war, women became victims of beastly
soldiers. It is also said that even during the war
when the situation became very tense, U.S. soldiers
attacked village women in groups. There were women who
were raped in front of their husbands. It can be said
that in Okinawa both during and after the war any
woman could be subjected to rape.
Even after the reversion of Okinawa to Japan, more
than 4,700 incidents and accidents involving the U.S.
military have occurred. All of these cases were
treated unilaterally by the U.S. military, and there
were very few cases in which the victims filed
complaints. This is a manifestation of the fact that
the rule of Okinawa by the U.S. military has ignored
the human rights of people of Okinawa. It was not that
they did not file complaints but rather that they were
placed under a system where they were not allowed to
Given the reality that the U.S. military is still
present in Okinawa, we can say that Okinawa is still
under a war state.
The Yumiko Incident
I was seven years old when Yumiko, who was 6 years old
at the time, was raped and murdered by a 31-year-old
American soldier. It happened on September 3, 1955,
ten years after the war ended. The incident occurred
in Ishikawa City in the central part of the Main
Island of Okinawa. Yumiko went to kindergarten that
day. She went missing at about 8 p.m. after she went
to see a movie alone. It's hard to understand in the
present that a 6 year old girl would go to see a
movie, but reading newspapers from those days one sees
that people used to live in one- or two-room houses,
and most children played outside until the sun set
(it's still bright until 8 p.m. during the summer in
Ishikawa City was originally a quiet rural area with a
population of about 2,000, but after the war detention
camps were built and the population grew to over
30,000. The Okinawa Council, Okinawa's post-war
administrative organization, was established in the
city, making the city a temporary political center.
However, there were incessant crimes committed by U.S.
soldiers in the area around Ishikawa City, which was
Meanwhile, following the San Francisco Peace Treaty in
1951 the U.S. military forcibly confiscated the land,
and around this period the struggle of Okinawans,
involving the whole islanders, against the land
In spite of the fact that this struggle was a big
historical event after the war, I knew little about
it, due to a lack of well-organized documentation.
After the incident of rape of an elementary school
girl by three American soldiers, I decided that I
wanted to learn more about the incidents in the past.
The Okinawa Times of September 4, 1955, the day after
the Yumiko incident, reported as follows: "An
unidentified girl, raped and murdered, was found in a
military garbage dump near the Kadena seaside. At
about 8:15 a.m. on the 4th two U.S. soldiers on patrol
found the body of a girl who seemed to be 8 to 10
years old discarded on her back in the field near the
military dump site on the Karashi Beach, Kadena
Village. They reported the case to Kadena police box
through the MP unit. There is evidence that the girl
was raped, as her slip was pulled down to the left arm
and her teeth were clenched."
Yumiko's body was very brutally harmed as if "having
been cut up with a sharp knife from the abdominal
region to the bowel."
The offenders were arrested a week after the incident.
"The Raikamu Intelligence Department made the first
official announcement at 8 p.m. on the 9th on the
murder of Yumiko through the Civilian Government Press
Section as follows: "An indictment was submitted
against Sergeant Isaac J. Hart of B Battalion, 32nd
Artillery Division, on charges of murder, rape and
kidnapping of a girl. The military authorities highly
appreciate the excellent collaboration and cooperation
extended by the civilian police. With regard to the
courtmartial for Hart, preliminary investigations are
being conducted at present." (The Okinawa Times, Sept.
Meanwhile, people raised angry voices in various parts
of Okinawa, and a Rally for Protection of Children was
held. The Association for Protection of Children was
formed with this incident as a start. The association
held an emergency meeting in Naha, and discussed the
policy and goals of the movement to prevent anymore
such incidents. The Residents' Rally held in Ishikawa
City on September 16, was participated in by 1,000
people and adopted a statement calling for a fair
trial, which read: "Punish offenders of this kind of
case with the death penalty without leniency
regardless of nationality or ethnicity. Eliminate the
extraterritorial rights and put the offense of
foreigners against Ryukyuans outside of the military
base into a civilian court. Have an officer(s) of
judicial affairs of the Okinawan side present at
trials, and the proceedings of the trial shall be
recorded and broadcast so that all Okinawan residents
can listen to it. The United States, if it is a
country truly proud of its historical tradition. The
newspapers asked people in the judicial circle and
police for comments. A certain public prosecutor
stated: "There is no room for us to get involved. Even
if the proceedings of the military court are made
public, we have no means to know whether the ruling is
carried out as it is decided. Once the offender is
sent off, that's the end." With regard to the
treatment of crimes committed by foreigners, a
detective sergeant at the time [section chief of
criminal affairs] said: "If the offender is an
American, then the case is left completely in the
hands of the military. As the civilian police have no
authority to conduct investigations, all we can do is
to cooperate with the military's investigation organ.
It is like, for example, the fact that CID does not
have the right to conduct investigations in
residential districts; the civilian police do the
investigation. Generally the results of treatment of
cases of foreigners whom the civilian police arrested
have not been informed nor revealed, but for this
kinFrequent Incidents and Accidents Involving American
I looked through newspapers of those days in order to
find out more about the Yumiko incident. I was
surprised when I skimmed through the papers of about
two weeks from September 4 to 19. One week after the
Yumiko incident, another 9-year-old girl was raped by
an American soldier. In those days incidents and
accidents involving American soldiers were happening
almost everyday. I will just list the cases which
occurred during the period between September 4 and 19.
・September 6: A foreign man attacked F (a
20-year-old woman) from Kita-Nakagusuku Village on the
way home from her friend's house, and attempted to
assault her, but she had a narrow escape as a passing
taxi driver protected her.
・September 5 at about 2 p.m.: A practice bomb
was dropped from a U.S. rocket plane which was flying
over a field north of Isagawa District, Haji Village
from south to north. The bomb was emitting white
smoke, and it caused a big uproar, but fortunately
there was no damage to human life.
・September 10: A B-29 bomber from Kadena Air
Base crashed into the ocean near Miyako-jima.
・September 11: The "second Yumiko incident"
occurred. At about midnight on September 10, Mr. A (46
years old), a farmer living in Myodo 5, Gushikawa
Village,1 and his wife T noticed the sound of someone
trying to break down the front door. Mr. A opened the
door and a black soldier stepped into the living room
without taking off his shoes, and demanded a woman.
Mr. A said there were no women in the house, but the
soldier was insistent. Surprised, Mr. A let his eldest
daughter (11 years old) escape from the back door.
Then, he went out to get aid from a neighbor, leaving
the second daughter B (9 years old), first son (six)
and second son (4) sleeping in the bedroom. When he
came back, he found that the second daughter B had
been kidnapped. Together with the neighbors, he looked
for her in the neighborhood, and 20 minutes later B
came home crying, with her abdominal region covered
・Three black soldiers invaded a women's
At about 3 a.m. on September 12, three black soldiers
tried to get into the women's dormitory in Koya
district, Korai Village
but ran away as people began to make noise.
・From the 10th to 11th in the jurisdiction of
Maebara Police Station in Gushikawa Village, five
cases of incidents by American soldiers including
burglaries and arson, occurred one after another.
・At about 11 p.m. on the 14th, two black
soldiers entered the house of Ms. Okawa Hanako in the
Perry District, Naha City. Her husband discovered the
soldiers taking sleeping Hanako's clothes off and
trying to rape her. When the husband tried to stopped
them. they tried to strangled him, hit his face, and
stabbed him on his right arm, but ran away.
・Mr. A., a taxi driver, was almost robbed of
his car by two black soldiers on the road to the [xxx]
・On the 19th, three American soldiers entered
the house of Mr. Y. in [xxx] City (currently Naha
City) with their shoes on. They threatened the family,
demanding women, but when the family cried out for
help, they ran away. In the whole surrounding area,
such break-ins have been frequent.
・On the 19th, a taxi driver was threatened by
three foreign soldiers whom he picked up in Naha City
and was asked to take to the Harbor View. They put a
knife to his neck.
The rule and occupation of the U.S. military continued
afterwards, and there was a constant stream of
incidents, with residents and children as victims.
Another big disaster occurred in Ishikawa City, where
people had not completely recovered from the shock of
the Yumiko incident.
The Crash of a Jet Fighter Plane on Miyamori
The accident occurred at 10:30 a.m. on June 30, 1959.
A jet fighter plane crashed into Miyamori Elementary
School in Ishikawa City in the central part of Okinawa
Main Island. It was a major disaster: 17 people were
killed, 121 people were injured, 17 private houses,
one public hall and three classrooms were completely
burned, and eight private houses and two classrooms
were partially burned. Teachers who witnessed it said:
"It all happened in an instant. Children, covered in
jet fuel and in flames, rushed to water taps to throw
water over their bodies, screaming for help to
teachers and shouting "Daddy, Mommy, it's a war!" More
than 1,200 school children were running around the
schoolyard, asking for help. As the black smoke
covered the whole city of Ishikawa, the citizens
became half-crazed, fearing that the city would be all
burned down. The fire was put out two hours later,
through the mobilization of all available fire
extinguishers, from both military and civilian fire
stations and police. . Thus, I strongly feel the need
to conduct an interview survey.
Why do Okinawans have to continue to endure?: Akahata
editorial, July 1, 2001 (Gist)
Okinawans are angered by the repeated rape of a local
young woman at her twenties by a U.S. soldier. The
crime allegedly occurred before dawn of June 29 in
Chatan Town in central Okinawa. The suspect, based at
U.S. Kadena Air Base, is now under police
In Chatan Town this year, a U.S. Marine committed a
series of arson attacks and an Army Special Command
Green Beret member destroyed police cars.
In Okinawa in July 2000, just before the G-7 Okinawa
Summit, a U.S. Marine assaulted a junior high school
girl, and last January another Marine molested a high
school girl in a residential area.
People's anger at unending U.S. military crimes is so
strong that the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly,
including ruling Liberal Democratic Party members,
unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the
reduction in the number of U.S. Marines and other U.S.
Forces in Okinawa.
Last year, former U.S. President Bill Clinton who
attended the Okinawa Summit apologized to Okinawans
for U.S. soldiers' crimes. But the U.S. has repeated
such apologies adnauseam.
The U.S. Forces have never made any essential
reflection, as clear from an e-mail sent by Earl B.
Hailston, Okinawa Area Coordinator of U.S. Forces, to
his commanders on January 23 calling the Okinawan
governor and other prefectural leaders "all nuts and a
bunch of wimps."
It is 56 years since the end of World War II, and 75%
of all U.S. military bases in Japan are still
concentrated in Okinawa with 25,000 soldiers stationed
there. What's more, the 15,000 U.S. Marines are
stationed in Okinawa as a strike force which the U.S.
will sent into regional conflicts around the world.
Their hard and fierce everyday training is in
preparation for U.S. military interventions. The
stationing of these forces in densely populated areas
of Okinawa is the root cause of frequent incidents by
So long as U.S. bases remain in Okinawa, tragic
incidents and crimes caused by U.S. personnel will
The Japanese government must step up its efforts to
get U.S. bases in Okinawa, the hotbed of crimes,
reduced and even removed. It should cancel the plan to
construct a new U.S. base as an alternative to U.S.
Marine Corps Futenma Air Station. It is high time for
the Japanese government to start negotiating with the
U.S. government to get the U.S. Marines in Okinawa
reduced and withdrawn. (end)
Marine testifies he didn't rape girl
American apologizes for abduction on Okinawa
December 11, 1995
Web posted at: 10:00 a.m. EST (1500 GMT)
>From Correspondent May Lee
NAHA, Japan (CNN) -- A U.S. Marine tearfully
apologized in an Okinawa court on Monday for his role
in a rape case that has shaken U.S.-Japan defense
ties. But Pfc. Rodrico Harp insisted he did not rape
the schoolgirl victim. Harp, 21, said he was pressed
by another accused serviceman into taking part in the
abduction of the 12-year-old girl and confessed to
rape in an earlier statement to U.S. officials only
because he thought he would get a lighter sentence
An American marine has been charged with molesting a
schoolgirl on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.
Kenny Titcomb, 19, is in custody on suspicion of
attacking the 14-year-old girl while she slept in her
bedroom on 3 July.
The incident has fuelled anti-American feelings in
Okinawa - home to more than half the roughly 48,000
American troops based in Japan.
U.S. military hands over for arrest Marine suspected
of raping woman in Japan
By Gary Schaefer
8:02 a.m., June 18, 2003
U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Jose Torres is brought into
the Ishikawa police station on Japan's southern island
of Okinawa after the United States agreed to hand him
over to Japanese authorities. The 21-year-old Marine
was arrested on suspection of raping a 19-year-old
Japanese woman in the early hours of May 25.
TOKYO ? A U.S. Marine suspected of raping a woman in
Okinawa was arrested Wednesday after U.S. military
authorities agreed to turn him in before his
The 21-year-old suspect was only the second U.S.
serviceman on the southern Japanese island to be
handed over to police before charges were brought by a
prosecutor. The U.S. military normally retains custody
of personnel suspected of crimes until they are
indicted but can relinquish them sooner if the crime
is deemed serious enough.
US Marine officer indicted and handed over to Japan
for attempted rape
TOKYO (AFP) Dec 19, 2002
A US Marine officer was indicted and handed over to
Japanese authorities Thursday on charges of attempting
to rape a Philippine woman last month in Okinawa,
Japan's southernmost prefecture.
Prosecutors in Naha, the capital of Okinawa, where
two-thirds of 47,000 US troops in Japan are stationed,
indicted Marine Corps Major Michael Brown, 39, the
official for the Naha District Public Prosecutors
Office told AFP.
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