LA Times: Okinawa, alleged rape, and “outrage for show”


Hi Blog. Not sure what to make of this, since it’s unclear whether it’s indecent assault or rape, but in any case, this does the US forces in Japan no good. I’ll put this up for discussion, since rapes no doubt happen more often between Japanese and Japanese, but it’s the NJ allegations that get the press. Given the history of the US military stationed in Okinawa, scant wonder. Interesting quote from now PM Fukuda also included. Debito in Sapporo


Alleged rape angers Japan
The suspect is a U.S. Marine on politically sensitive Okinawa. Some say official outrage is more for show.
From the Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2008
By Bruce Wallace
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer,1,2542396.story
Courtesy of Jon Lenvik

TOKYO — The Japanese prime minister has described the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl by an American Marine as “unforgivable.” The foreign minister declared that Japan has “had enough” of such incidents. And the government’s most senior Cabinet official promised that Japan would raise the issue of misconduct with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice when she visits next week.

Few events have animated the top levels of government recently as much as the alleged rape this month on Okinawa Island, which has a large U.S. military presence that has long been a source of tension with residents. Senior Japanese politicians have continued to berate the United States, citing other less serious incidents involving troops, despite expressions of regret from U.S. Ambassador Thomas Schieffer and new restrictions on off-base travel for U.S. forces in Japan.

The suspect, 38-year-old Staff Sgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott, is in Japanese custody. Japanese news media, quoting police sources, have reported that he denies raping the girl but admits forcibly kissing her.

The intensity of the reaction arises, in part, from a 1995 gang rape of a 12-year-old Okinawa girl by three U.S. servicemen that provoked massive anti-American demonstrations, and from the desire of the United States and Japan to avoid similar protests.

And the mood was darkened further Thursday with reports of another U.S. serviceman under investigation on suspicion of raping a Filipino woman in an Okinawa hotel.

But many here, though they share in the condemnation of sexual assault, argue that Japanese politicians are speaking out forcefully only because of the acute sensitivities of Okinawa’s status as host to about 42,500 Americans, the bulk of the U.S. military presence in Japan.

Japanese officials privately acknowledge that their recent criticisms are motivated, in part, by the need to assuage Okinawa public opinion, especially at a time when Washington and Tokyo are seeking to relocate a major Marine air base in the face of strong local opposition.

“It’s all a performance,” said Kantoku Teruya, an Okinawa lawmaker in the upper house of Japan’s parliament.

“They are afraid of Okinawa’s growing rage over the base relocation, so they imposed a curfew and promised to tighten discipline.

“But they’ve promised this before. And it is not working.”

Critics of the government say serious crimes committed on Japan’s main island have never drawn such stern rebukes, pointing out that the 2006 slaying of a 56-year-old Japanese woman by a U.S. sailor, later sentenced to life in prison, was handled without fanfare.

Japanese police and U.S. military statistics show that serious crimes committed by American servicemen in Japan have decreased in the last five years. And critics say the lecturing tone of the Japanese government is discordant in a country where rape victims are so poorly treated that there is no 24-hour rape crisis hotline, and the 1,948 rapes reported to police in 2006 are believed to be far below the actual number.

“Most of the clients I see won’t go to the police because of the way they are treated,” said Takako Konishi, a psychologist who assists female victims of violence at Tokyo’s Musashino University. “There is still a concept in Japan that women are responsible for putting themselves in bad situations, and women don’t want to risk criticism from their friends and family by going public.”

Some rape victims in Japan describe their experience with police as deeply humiliating. An Australian woman raped by an American serviceman in 2002 recalls being questioned for several hours without police providing medical care or an opportunity to shower.

They also demanded that she return to the scene of the crime to reenact the rape for police photographers, a standard Japanese police practice. Prosecutors would not press charges, but she won damages in a civil case.

Critics of the government also note that U.S. military authorities continue to investigate allegations of rape against four Marines in Hiroshima last fall, whereas the Japanese justice system refused to press charges. The initial investigation was led by Japanese police, but prosecutors dropped the case without explanation in November.

The problem, many here contend, is that Japanese attitudes toward violence against women remain rooted in antiquated male beliefs.

In 2003, the Weekly Bunshun magazine quoted then- Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda telling reporters in an off-the-record briefing that “there are lots of women who dress in a seductive way. I wonder if they know that half of human beings in the world are male. All men are black panthers.”

He later said his message was intended to be completely different.

Fukuda, 71, is now the prime minister, leading his government’s condemnation in the Marine’s case.

“It’s good to hear their formal condemnation of rape, but I fear our politicians are just behaving paternally,” said psychologist Konishi. “They single out American soldiers because they see this as a matter of Japanese property being violated by outsiders.”

——————–, Hisako Ueno of The Times’ Tokyo Bureau contributed to this report.

33 comments on “LA Times: Okinawa, alleged rape, and “outrage for show”

  • The last line was interesting to me. I often go to Tokyo and when you walk from the Hiro-o metro station towards the American military New Sanno hotel there is graffiti on the intersection pedestrian overpass that has never been removed in the two years I have been going to Tokyo. It says in English to “stay away from our women.” I have always found it disturbing. Women, Japanese, American, or what ever nationality are not “ours” or “yours” or anyone’s but their own. Dr. Konishi puts the wrong-headed view of women as property in the spotlight. Unfortunately, I think many people around the world still think of woman as objects. Sad.

    It would be interesting however if these horrific events did result in the American presence in Japan being reduced. I do not know if that is a good or a bad thing in light of the increasing nationalism in so many places.

  • The matter is simple, as sad as it is, rape happens ALL over, you should deal with it as the situation presents itself. The fact that most Japanese news is informationless makes their actions in putting NJ stories to light quite suspicious.

  • This is not an NJ issue. Typically, NJ in Japan are at disadvantage because of language, immigration and labour laws, etc. In this case, American military personnel in Japan are occupiers with essentially more rights than their host community, Okinawa: while an NJ can typically be deported by Japanese authorities, American service personnel who commit crimes such as sexual assault and murder have two powerful backers in their corner: the American military and the Japanese government.

    The comment at the end of the LA Times article that Japanese outrage can be more “paternalistic” – outrage over violated “property” is quite accurate. And such sexual assaults provide Japanese politicians in Tokyo the perfect opportunity to rail against the occupying American forces while avoiding the real issue: the continued presence of US bases on Japanese soil.

    However, strictly speaking, American service personnel occupying Japan are not perceived as being “gaijin” or “gaikokujin,” that is, NJ. Japanese folks perceive the American military as being “bei-gun.” Big, dumb guys wearing camo out for a night on the town in Yokohama.

    Too bad they won’t be going home any time soon.

  • “since rapes no doubt happen more often between Japanese and Japanese, but it’s the NJ allegations that get the press.”

    Or rather it’s rape (or allegations thereof) by soldiers who are there by the fiat of the Japanese government that get the press. The more relevant statistic is that crime rates by U.S. servicemen based in Japan are higher by a long shot than crime rates of those based elsewhere. Why is this? To me the only explanation is good old-fashioned Orientalism on the part of the servicemen based in Japan. If you’re looking for proof of discrimination in these incidents, I suggest you refocus your view.

  • Wow a classic case of misclassification that goes quite common within the japanese community. In 2006 alone, there has been 1468 rapes, from the military 1. Yet you never see all of these protests when the immensely more common japanese rapes happens. The hyprocrictical standards that exist in this country is astonding sometimes.

  • Scott Reynolds says:

    Bryce, could you provide a source for your statement that “crime rates by U.S. servicemen based in Japan are higher by a long shot than crime rates of those based elsewhere”? I was unaware of this and would be curious to know more.

  • Kokuryu, the US military are not occupiers. They are here as guests of the Japanese government. Yes, many Okinawan’s want them gone. But if they left, so would many jobs for Okinawan’s.

    I like what Yuki said. Almost 1,500 rapes with little press but one rape by a soldier and it is National news.

  • Yuki:

    “Yet you never see all of these protests when the immensely more common japanese rapes happens.”

    Actually Yuki, I would think you do. Not to the same extent perhaps, but then “common Japanese” aren’t sitting on large plots of land forcibly requisitioned by the Japanese government and rented in many cases without the owners’ permission to the United States. Within such a context, is it really any wonder that a) the neighbours of the bases are pissed off and thus will take the rapes that do occur as symbolic of their grievances towards the authorities; and b) the Japanese government is extremely sensitive towards such opinion? The incidence of “Japanese” rape is irrelevent. But for the fact that U.S. forces are stationed in Okinawa, rapes by American servicemen (as well as other crime, accidents and noise pollution) would not occur at all. That’s how many Okinawans see it, and given the circumstances, one can hardly blame them. Arguments claiming that rapes perpetrated by U.S. servicemen are somehow less numerous and therefore less salient than non-military rape – as if the presence of said forces benefits the community because it helps bring crime rates down – miss the point somewhat.


    See Sheila Johnson’s article, quoted at length below:

    “Lying with Statistics

    “In my op-ed, I offered the statistic that between 1972 and 2000, U.S. servicemen on Okinawa committed 5,006 documented crimes, which averages out to roughly one every other day. These figures were cited in the July 3, 2001 Mainichi Shimbun as having been compiled by the Base Measures Office (Kichi Taisaku-shitsu) of Okinawa Prefecture. Of these crimes, 527 were heinous crimes such as murder and arson, and 949 were violent crimes involving injuries. If one distrusts the Japanese documentation, one can turn to the investigation Russell Carollo conducted for the Dayton Daily News using computer databases of Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard courts-martial, civilian court records, and FBI criminal records. Carollo found that between 1988 and 1995, bases in Japan (most of which are located in Okinawa) with a total of 41,008 personnel held 169 courts martial for sexual assaults. This was 66 percent more cases than the Number 2 location, San Diego, which had 102 cases for 93,792 personnel (Dayton Daily News, October 8, 1995). The Carollo figures for sexual assaults works out to one every two months.

    “General James L. Jones counters these statistics by saying that “Americans, approximately 4% of the population of Okinawa, account for less than 1% of crimes” and that in San Diego “36 crimes are committed per 1,000 people, while on Okinawa, one crime is committed per 1,000 U.S. citizens” (Los Angeles Times, July 22, 2001). The fallacy here is that in his figure of 4% General Jones is counting not only armed services personnel but also their wives and dependents, who are not likely to be rapists, arsonists, or drunk drivers, and that in his figure for San Diego he is counting the entire, disparate population of a county, not a supposedly elite group of military men and women.

    “Statistics for rape are notoriously slippery because many women do not report rape, knowing that the humiliation for them will likely outweigh any punishment for the perpetrator. This is particularly true in Japan, where women are routinely questioned about their sexual past and whether they might have been “leading on” the suspect. The infamous 1995 gang-rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by three American servicemen was prosecuted in part because no such slurs could be used against her. Even then, Japanese authorities were at first reluctant to prosecute because, they said, they wanted to protect the girl. It was Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, a group formed at that time, who both protected the girl’s identity and insisted the perpetrators be brought to justice.”

  • Yuki and Jon seem to be unaware of important historical issues behind the current outrage.

    During the invasion of Okinawa in 1945, American action resulted in the deaths of around 150,000 Okinawans – 1/3 of the population of the islands.

    There were atrocities against young girls. The famous schoolgirl nurse squad “Himeyuri Butai” survivors report that some of their number were lured from caves by American soldiers and machine gunned. (Inami, Himeyuri no Okinawa-sen, Tokyo: Iwanami, 1992)

    Between 1945 and 1972, Okinawa was ruled by the United States. The protections of the Japanese or American constitutions were not extended to the Okinawan people. By all accounts (oral history series in the major Okinawan newspapers, the scholarly writing of Chalmers Johnson, one of the deans of Japanese Studies in the United States) rape and violent crime was widespread during the occupation period and Okinawans had difficulty getting justice.

    Is it any surprise that there is a sensitivity to American crimes in Okinawa?

    Incidentally, it is not one rape, allegations of a second recent rape have surfaced. A number of other crimes (breaking and entering, etc.) in the past two weeks have only compounded the outrage.


    The Japan Times THE ZEIT GIST
    Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008
    U.S. military crime: SOFA so good?

    The stats offer some surprises in wake of the latest Okinawa rape claim
    Special to The Japan Times

    On Friday night, Aug. 18, 2006, at a third-story apartment within a gated community outside Atlanta, Ga., 31-year-old Kendrick Ledet sat contemplating life. And death.

    Ledet was familiar with various forms of high-tech weaponry — particularly the semi-automatic M-16 rifle — but on this day he decided to go low-tech, departing from us slowly by slicing through the arteries in his arms with a knife.

    Moments earlier, this terribly troubled soul had forcefully struck a coworker in the head before strangling her with his forearm. And that was preceded by a violent sexual assault. She was only 22 years old, a student studying marketing at a nearby university.

    Three years before the parents of Lauren Cooper happened upon this awful scene inside their daughter’s apartment, the perpetrator of this crime, Ledet, was among us here in Japan.

    Well, not exactly among us, since he was doing hard labor inside a Japanese prison. From 1996 to 2003 Ledet resided in a Yokosuka jail, where he spent many of his waking hours assembling cell phones and making auto parts for Mazdas and Nissans.

    And before that? Well, if you’ve been in Japan for a while, you probably know the rest of the sordid story: In September 1995, Ledet and two of his buddies from Camp Hanson on Okinawa decided to rent a van, kidnap a 12-year-old Japanese girl, force duct tape over her mouth, bind her hands and rape her repeatedly.

    Disgusted? I was. The memory of this atrocious crime came flooding back to me upon hearing of the latest charge of rape against yet another U.S. serviceman. Moreover, it brought back to mind a remarkable claim I came across while reading about the shift of many U.S. forces to Guam: The assertion that members of the U.S. military are four times less likely than a Japanese citizen to commit a crime on the island of Okinawa.

    Skeptical? I was. Let’s look at the numbers and see what they really tell us.

    First, we need to know how many Japanese and non-Japanese we have in this country, and how many tourists are passing through. In 2006, Japan had a total population of 127.77 million people. Some 2.08 million of those were registered foreigners, and 51,321 of those registered foreigners were U.S. citizens not covered under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between Japan and the U.S.

    A SOFA clarifies the terms under which a foreign military is allowed to operate in another country, and covers service members, their dependents and certain civilian workers. In October 2006, the American military community in Japan consisted of 96,790 SOFA-covered individuals.

    During the same year, Japan welcomed a little more than 4.98 million foreign tourists, and 490,472 of those were from the U.S.

    Now let’s see how many arrests we had that year. The National Police Agency reports 384,250 for penal code offenses, such as murder, bodily injury, bicycle theft and the like. Of these arrests, 14,418 were of non-Japanese, 211 of which were U.S. citizens not covered by the SOFA and 120 of which were SOFA-covered individuals. Illegal immigrants were responsible for 13.2 percent of penal code offenses by non-Japanese.

    In addition to penal code offenses, there were 83,147 arrests for special law violations. Non-Japanese accounted for 12,303 of these, 84 of which were U.S. citizens not covered by the SOFA and 25 of which were SOFA-covered individuals.

    What’s a “special law violation”? Basically it’s a breach of a certain established law, such as the Stimulants Control Law, Firearms and Swords Control Law, or even the Horse Racing Law.

    Now, before we continue, take note that here in Japan an arrest indicates that a person was taken into custody by police. It does not indicate whether the case was prosecuted in court or whether the suspect was convicted.

    A little math gives us an arrest rate of 0.351 percent for Japanese in Japan. For non-Japanese here — tourists and registered residents, excluding illegal immigrants and SOFA-covered individuals — the arrest rate would be a little lower at 0.326 percent, assuming that illegal immigrants were also responsible for 13.2 percent of special law violations. And if we were to deem arrests of tourists to be negligible, the rate for registered non-Japanese residents would surge to around 1.115 percent.

    For U.S. tourists and U.S. citizen residents of Japan not covered by the SOFA, the arrest rate would be 0.054 percent. And if we were to assume arrests of U.S. tourists to be negligible, the arrest rate for U.S. citizens not covered by the SOFA would increase to 0.575 percent.

    A strong argument can be made against the inclusion of transgressions of the Immigration Control Law and the Alien Registration Law, which may inflate arrest numbers of non-Japanese. But Japanese can and do violate these laws. In 2006, of the 35 arrests for violations to the Alien Registration Law, eight of those arrests were of Japanese.

    Moreover, once we move down this path of discounting particular transgressions, we open up a giant can of worms because certain other laws — the Public Elections Law, for instance — could be considered to be inherently biased against Japanese.

    The rates we have calculated so far are for the entire Japanese archipelago. However, approximately 75 percent of the total land area exclusively used by U.S. forces in Japan is located in Okinawa. So let’s narrow our focus to Okinawa Prefecture.

    In 2006, the Okinawan islands had a population of 1,368,000 people, 6,808 of which were registered foreign residents not covered by the SOFA. In 2006, there were 4,188 arrests for penal code offenses and 605 arrests for special law violations. Foreigners not covered by the SOFA were responsible for 44 of these penal code offenses, and we can use partially reported figures to estimate that this group committed around 22 special law violations.

    Doing the math gives us an arrest rate of 0.342 percent for Japanese in Okinawa, a bit lower than the rate for the entire country.

    Now let’s turn to the U.S. military in Okinawa. There are about 42,570 SOFA-covered Americans living in the prefecture. In 2006, 63 SOFA-covered individuals were arrested for penal code offenses. Eleven arrests for special law violations can be estimated. A little math using these numbers gives us an arrest rate of 0.174 percent, about half that of Japanese in Okinawa (0.342) and the entire country (0.351).

    Shocked? I am! It’s particularly surprising when you consider that almost half the U.S. military population is 25 years old or younger. In fact, 80 percent of U.S. service members are younger than 35. And men comprise nearly 85 percent of the U.S. military force.

    If we were to attribute 80 percent of arrests of Japanese in Okinawa to men and women aged 15 to 64, a group that makes up 65.1 percent of the prefecture, the arrest rate among Japanese in this age bracket in Okinawa would rise to 0.420 percent. In fact, we would have to attribute 67 percent of arrests in Okinawa to those under the age of 15 and over the age of 64 before the arrest rate of Japanese in the 15-to-64 age bracket would fall below that of SOFA-covered individuals in the area. Shocking indeed!

    Let’s not pretend, though, that living among foreigners trained to kill is Disney in fatigues. On-base arrest data is not released. Environmental issues and land-use concerns abound. And noise has always been a problem.

    However, there were no arrests in Japan of SOFA-covered individuals for rape or sexual assault in 2006, even though the NPA did arrest 1,094 Japanese for rape and another 4,733 for sexual offenses — that’s nearly 16 a day.

    Many feel that society would be great if we had no need for military forces, but as long as governments don’t feel the same way the fact remains that we have to put them somewhere. All of which raises the question: Is it hypocritical to give such disproportionate media exposure to crimes committed by U.S. service members when the data shows that their adherence to our laws apparently exceeds our own?

    Questions about data, calculations and sources used in this article can be directed to the author at Send comments on this issue to
    The Japan Times: Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008

  • Even with historical baggage behind the so called outrage from the okinawan people, to claim such outrages against one individual who people should know, does not represent the entire american military fleet is ridiculous.

    Historical issues behind such events does not influence my opinion that everyone should be treated with individual responbility. It is not the entire military members fault for one idiotic serviceman who slip through the cracks and can’t contain his hormones. I use to be a military serviceman, serving my country for 4 years while station in yokosuka for japan. I commited no atrocities nor cause any unnecessary hassle for the japanese people. I enjoyed Japan, but was highly annoyed that no matter how well I was in the public, which I normally am anyway, that I would be punished as if I was a criminal.

    It’s like banning all south koreans because one individual shot up virginia tech, what kind of sense does that make. I believe this issue is also caused because Japan does quite well to report only the bad things regarding the US Military. At least once a week, there was a newspaper article showing military individuals cleaning up neighborhood beaches, or visiting orphanages playing with kids that japanese parents have discarded, but this would never be in the Japanese newspaper, as it would ruin the image that all Military Individuals are blood thirsty horny warbots that prey upon the flesh of innocent girls.

    I feel sorry and remorse for the individual and their family, and no matter what, this individual should be punished. But I also feel sorry for the american military personal, who many doesn’t wish to come in the first place and are forced to come, to be penalized
    even though they are good american citzens and have done nothing wrong.

  • Jon,

    To say that the US military is in Japan as guests is a bit questionable. Look at the pressure the US has put on Japan regarding helping with the War on Terror. There’s no way of telling what threats have been made at the highest levels in regards to these bases.

    This isn’t meant to defend Tokyo’s selling Okinawa down the river time and time again, it’s just to say that the US bases are the key thing American regimes have wanted out of Japan in the post-war period. Administration after administration was willing to set aside trade matters as long as Japan functioned as the US’s military linchpin in Asia.

  • C’mon Debito, you have to know that those stats mean nothing.

    Firstly, Article XVII/5(c) of the SOFA effectively states that if a U.S. serviceperson who has committed a crime gets back to base, the Japanese police cannot have access to him – or for that matter any member of the U.S. military on base – for questioning until they charge the suspect with a crime. It’s something that many Okinawans feel more than a tad peeved about, and worse, according to your old supervisor, it is something that every U.S. serviceman stationed abroad knows. It is made worse by the fact that Article IX allows the U.S. military to spirit criminal suspects out of the country without regard to Japanese immigration law.

    Now, the reason that the Americans insist on this provision is that, as you well know, there are significant problems with Japanese procedural justice. To a large extent, I accept the U.S. government’s reasoning on this. Nevertheless, you simply can’t compare the arrest stats, because you are effectively talking about two separate legal systems; one that allows rigorous (and, yes, maybe dodgy – but that drives up the arrest rate for Japanese) investigation by Japanese authorities, and one that expects charges to be laid for even minor crimes before the police and have even questioned the suspects or even other witness.

    Secondly, of course the crime rate among servicemen and women in foreign nations should be less than it is amongst the general population (although with the SOFA in place we can’t tell if this really is the case). Part of their job description entails living on foreign bases, and the military is responsible for training their servicemen to respect the locals and for weeding out the criminal element from their ranks. If your point is to show that the U.S. has a good record when it comes to crimes committed by its servicemen, then those stats need to be compared to crime rates in other military populations, say in the various SDF bases. If you want find out whether the USFJ have a better record when it comes to crime as compared to other members of the U.S. military based elsewhere, then you compare stats in U.S. bases elsewhere. I believe I have already presented evidence for this latter point. In any case, to compare base population crime rates with those of the general population in Japan or Okinawa is meaningless. Odd how it is a statistic that is bandied about so much.

    Third, those stats were from 2006, the single year with the lowest crime stats in the last seven (and maybe more) years. Excuse me for thinking that something fishy was going on there.


    Despite the fact that telling all Koreans to go home after one murderous afternoon and telling all U.S. servicemen to go home after 60+ years of fun and games is most certainly NOT the same thing, I, nor in fact the majority of Japanese want the American military to pack up and go home. But when a heinous crime does occur, after the individual perpetrator is identified and arrested, it is correct to go to the organisation charged with keeping their members in line – in this case the U.S. military – and insist they exercise a little more control over their own.

    Also, your point about the “american military personal, who many doesn’t wish to come in the first place and are forced to come” is invalid. Despite the fact that Okinawa is the most requested base destination for U.S. military personnel, living in foreign climes is a potential part of the job that servicemen and women sign up for, so they need to get used to it.

    –“C’mon Debito”… I wish people would stop bringing me into stuff I didn’t even write.

  • Bryce, In case you haven’t notice, numbers indicated that throughout the entire existence of the US military being inside of Japan, only 16 documented rapes has been reported from 1955 to 2008. Here is the direct quote from the article.

    “It is noteworthy, though, that despite the millions of U.S. personnel who have been stationed throughout Japan since the end of World War II, only 16 sexual assaults, rape and murders are documented as having been committed by military members between 1955 and 2008 (according to a Japanese vernacular newspaper). That’s 0.26 rape per year. These figures do not, of course, reflect incidents that went unreported, yet they nonetheless are the sort of statistics that most cities and countries would love to boost. But no one cares about that. Politics seems to be the only thing driving people’s “outrage” these days”

    So as much as you wish to portray the military as the big bad wolf, it is indeed the opposite. Also, I have no idea what you mean by fun and games, which shows the fact that you definitely have not done any time within the military service, as my work load in japan was anything but fun and games. Try working 12 hour days with no breakfast, lunch, or dinner break, the only time to eat is next to your computer screen, and than try to comment on this.

    And not comparing the examples I provided as not the same thing is definitely ridculous. You try to attempt to say that because it’s only one individual in comparison to 16 rapes that it’s not the same. I am not talking about numbers and principles. If you have principles, than you would realize that it is, the same exact thing. But if you worry about numbers, let me try that game for you. I guess with your logic, we should lock up all caucasian individuals in the US, as they have commited over 15,000 hate crimes alone. Or Perhaps african americans, since their crime ratio to population is larger than their caucasian counterparts.

    Or perhaps let’s hit one closer to your ball park. Let’s say a female was raped at your corporation that you work. You had no idea who the lady or rapist was, and you haven’t met them before in your life. Let’s say your corporation was huge where you were working, with a large work force. Now, because of this individual rape another lady. The corporation has decided not only for you to constantly watch sexual behavior tapes and videos. But you, your wife, and kids cannot go out anywhere. The only place you can go to is home, work, and your neighborhood grocery store. That’s it, you can’t go to the movies. You can’t go to shibuya. You can’t go to the mall. You can’t go no where, and not just you, but your entire family, and everyone elses entire family inside that corporation, all for that one individual mistake.

    Lastly, please provide information showing that okinawa is the most requested destination for US military personnel. For one, I know you can’t, because the majority of military personnal cannot go to okinawa. I could not because I was in the Navy. The only individuals that can go to okinawa are marines and very SMALL amount jobs listings in other branches. So for one, you can’t say military personnel. Now if you meant specifically marines, again, that is incorrect. Because marines have very little choice on where they go, especially when coming out of boot camp. I know, as during my technical school training, I had 3 individuals who were marines, we shared the same classroom even though I was Navy and the marines being a part of the Navy branch also trained there. All of them wanted state side bases, because THAT”S is the most requested destination for US MILITARY Personnel of all branches. Most members of all military branches wishes to stay in the states, not go to a foreign country permanently. The only exception would be a decent amount of Navy individuals, but they want to travel all over the world, not just japan. Yet even though their top three choices were state side bases, they were forced to go to okinawa. They didn’t mind it, but they did not have a choice. Billets need to be filled.

    So before you began to talk to me regarding military personnel, you ought to be careful, because your not dealing with someone who just read about the military through the newspaper, but someone who actually served the military. I can be able to spot false information about the military very quickly. And that okinawa bit, I know, is definitely false information.

  • From the research of Chalmers Johnson:

    “The governor’s petition included the information that, according to Okinawan prefectural police records, during the thirty-year period since Okinawa reverted to Japan’s administration (1972-2002), American troops, Pentagon civilians, and military dependents committed 5,157 crimes in Okinawa, of which 533 were the “heinous” crimes of murder and rape. This works out to 17.7 heinous crimes per year or 1.5 per month. In a famous study comparing rates of military sexual assault leading to court martial around the world from 1988 to 1994, the Dayton Daily News found that Okinawa had a rate of 4.12 per 1,000 U.S. military personnel compared with Camp Pendleton’s 2.0, Camp Lejeune’s 1.75, San Diego’s 1.09, and Norfolk, Virginia’s 0.80. Inamine stressed that this situation has not changed. In fact, since fiscal year 1996, just after the major Okinawan rape incident, the number of crimes committed by servicemen grew at a rate of 1.3 times per year.”

    Yuki’s statistics are incorrect. Other statistics include only crimes prosecuted in Japanese courts, not the many that are handled by court marshal so they dramatically under report the problem.

    The extent of US military crime in Okinawa is shocking given the fact that the majority of the population there are on base most of the time. At present the reputation of the US military internationally is at an all time low and and US authorities in Japan have wisely chosen to be conciliatory in the face of justified outrage.

  • “But if you worry about numbers….”

    Please read my comment above again. I am not worried about using numbers in order to improve my position. Indeed, I am arguing that because of the extraterritoriality provisions in SOFA, it is impossible to use arrest and conviction statistics to show anything, because it is effectively a comparison of such rates under two different legal systems. Any figures “revealing” the extent of crime by U.S. servicement or comparing rates with “Japanese” crime under such a system are therefore useless.

    There are other stats that may prove more helpful. If you look at reported rape the figure is significantly higher than the figures for arrest stats – 82 per 100,000 in the mid 1990s, for example. During the same period it was exactly half that in the U.S.

    It’s hard to rely on military stats, because they are not immediately forthcoming. For example, the study in 1995 that showed Okinawa as having the highest incidence of sexual assualt amongst U.S. military bases around the world took months of FOIA requests, at least one court case and when the military did release the figures, they didn’t even include stats for the army.

    So what I’m saying is that the stats are not always as straightforward as they seem.

    Also, please don’t try to create the impression that I “hate” the U.S. military or its members, but, yes, I do think the organisation is partly responsible for the conduct of its staff. Military members have different rights and privileges under SOFA than Japanese citizens and even other foriegners abroad, because it is expected that they have different obligations. If SOFA extends special rights to U.S. servicemen because of their primary obligations to the U.S. military, then it is entirely reasonable to expect the military command to enforce order amongst its own. Comparing the U.S. military to some sort of corporation whose members ultimately fall under the jurisdiction of whichever nation they are in at the time is just silly.

    On the popularity of Okinawa see Johnson, Blowback, 64-65.

  • My statistics are incorrect? According to who? While true, someone is indeed possessing false information, the basis that it’s because it’s only crimes prosected in japanese courts is incorrect. According to officials, all “heinous” crimes such as murder and rape are given over to japanese custody after being brought into base. So that would make my number alot more than 16.

    Most of the reason the reputation of the Military is all time low is because of the biased media attacks. For example, last week, the US Navy of yokosuka visited an orphange of kids. But I guarentee you, you won’t find that in the japanfocus, as stated before, it would disrupt the idea that all military members are blood thirsty sex driven [mongrels] that prey on women and kids.

    It’s like the biased media attacks towards NJ’s. As we all know, to many people here (which the sasebo shooting proved) foreigners equaled crime. Foreigners in itself do alot of good in this country, but rarely do you ever see that on television. I also partially blame the US military though, as they easily possess the funds to provide a good media campaign in japan and never do. The only times good deeds are seen, which are quite often, is within the US military newspaper.

  • “According to who?”

    According to one of the top Japan scholars in the United States and the statistics kept by the Okinawan Prefectural government.

    The reputation of the US military is in the dumps for reasons other than media bias – torture, killings of civilians, and in “peaceful” areas around bases – crashes, violent crime, noise and air pollution, ground water pollution, other environmental damage, etc.

  • Yuki, the heinous crimes agreement was instituted only after 1995, after 5 marines raped a twelve year old girl. Even during the next high profile rape investigation, that of Timothy Woodward, American authorities lobbied strongly to not hand the suspect over unless certain criteria were observed during the investigation. It’s obvious there is one standard for the investigation of U.S. servicemen and another for the investigation of Japanese citizens and other foreigners. This may well be justified, but don’t think it will convince me that a comparison of the two sets of data is warranted.

    “Foreigners in itself do alot of good in this country, but rarely do you ever see that on television.”

    Carlos Ghosn ring any bells?

    “But I guarentee you, you won’t find that in the japanfocus, as stated before, it would disrupt the idea that all military members are [blah blah blah]”

    Japanfocus is hardly a mainstream Japan media outfit, and even if it were, I doubt it would publish the story of a bunch of seamen visiting an orphanage. Newspapers and the like are designed to make money, while blogs generally try to grab attention. Obvious PR stunts don’t get published because they generally fail to attract readership.

    In any case, I really need to focus on work at the moment, so I shall sign off here.

  • Yuki,

    Foreign military bases are rarely popular anywhere in the world-now and throughout history. This is no criticism of you or your fellow soldiers. Would Americans living in Hawaii be happy if 20% of the state were used by the Chinese military? The individual Chinese soldiers might or might not behave better than, say, US mainlanders visiting, but it would still be a very sensitive situation. It might be necessary to have special procedures and courts for Chinese-related crimes, but you could understand if a lot of the locals didn’t like things.

    I know there are a few places in the US with foreign troops, such as Alamogordo, but that’s a very small area with a large US military presence anyway, and even there there’s a lot of resentment about granting the German troops relative immunity to US laws. In fact, an uproar occurred and a deal had to be worked out after years of complaints.

  • I never stated media bias is the only reason the military image is up in flames, but I do believe it’s the top. The other topics you have mention has rarely occurred especially in Japan. In comparison to say, Iraq, now that is a place where military members perform constant stupid and idiotic mistakes.

    But media bias plays a heavy part into that, and why? Well bryce answered the question quite well. If they try to portray news that are positive or uplifting, it fails to bring in readers, or they believe so anyway. This isn’t specifically a japan problem though as this happens in the US as well. The majority of times you use to see African Americans in the news were only when crimes were committed or a racial act was performed against them. (Well before Obama hit the screen, he is both african american and caucasian so.) I always hoped just one day, that one news agency would pick up the story of Jero, which shows an african american who sings japanese fluently. But than this would go against the constant stereotype that african americans are gangsters who always pull the race card to get whatever they want, instead of actual people like everyone else.

    And bryce you named one person, I never stated you don’t see foreigners do good in this country, but you rarely do. Which is a true case.

  • I’m back Yuki, but just for a while…

    My point about the media was that if the U.S. military authorities are not happy with media treatment of the base situation in Japan, then perhaps they should try a little harder to stop giving the media excuses to criticise rather than engaging in obvious and pointless PR activities. It doesn’t matter how many orphans U.S. seamen visit if U.S. soldiers operate under a different system of justice in Japan. It’s still going to piss many Japanese off and it doesn’t help one iota with the credibility of your data.

    As for foreigners fulfilling positive role in Japan, I guess you don’t really know what you are talking about. There are those annoying talento like Dave Spector and Thane Camus, who, while they are not my cup of tea, certainly project a rather positive image of foreigners living in Japan. There is the sumo world with wrestlers from Hawaii, Mongolia, Russia and Estonia, and, if we stick with sports, foreigners have coached and played on the Japanese football team. Baseball is full of foreign players that are well known in Japan. As for real sports, the same is true of rugby.
    I’ve already mentioned Carlos Ghosn in business, there’s also Marutei Tsurunen (foreign born) in politics and, in the looking stupid but pretty category, there’s Leah Dizon.

    All of these are rather high profile examples of foreigners doing good and being recognised. I could go on.

    But there are also the normally anonymous foreigners that often pop up in feel-good pieces like this.

    I guess if you really want proof that you don’t know what you are talking about, type ジェロ into a search engine and see how many hits you get. Jero features on a number of mainstream TV shows in Japan at the moment.

    In any case, I’m not sure what any of this has to do with our argument about the base stats, and quite frankly, I’m a little bit bored with you.


    –Sheesh. Talk about patronizing…

  • Larry Fordyce says:

    Sorry folks but I with Yuki too. It was my white butt out there standing between the soviets and their islands in the 80’s, my butt in the 90’s when North Korea was acting up and who’s butt was out there again when things got tense over them small little islands that everyone claims. They really didn’t complain too much on them days or see as me an occupier. I am sorry folks I was just in Okinawa last week and many people know that this is just jumping on the pile. They are afraid of the business they will be losing if the curfew stays in place. They are afraid of the jobs that will lost that Tokyo and the tourist industry can not make up if the bases leave. They are wondering why in the heck aren’t they protesting the police, government workers and teacher lately that have been caught in the same acts.

    Okinawans outraged about Americans taking the island in 1945? Come on..they are outrage at Tokyo wanting to put a happy face on forced massive suicides conducted by the Imperial Army. They are outraged that Japan even thinks about becoming a military force once again. Quote from a 70 year old friend of mine ” Have they forgot what history has taught us, and they want me to live through their hell again!” Trust me it is the few land owners that jumps on a bandwagon every time they get a chance. Protest the bases being there..a hundred people…to protest them changing history ….thousands…. Go to the Okinawa Times the numbers are there.

    The fact that this occurred is embarrassing to the U.S. Forces which probably does more volunteer work than any other group in Japan. As an American I am embarrassed and I gave my apologies to all my friends and business partners in Okinawa. But they also concede that too many people hold these young men (ave age 20.5) to a high standard even for a 60 year old person. If I took many of you folks jumping on the bandwagon and gave you orders to a place you didn’t want to go to and ask you to be the perfect ambassador. How many of you guys would survive the test? The piece that Michael wrote hit the numbers correctly. Actually out a pointed out though we have our troubles, there really is a double standard.

    For the folks that believe that just because military does not hand over their troops automatically over to the police; that is guy is eating cake and ice cream everyday in his barracks; you are so wrong…and I bet you ask half the folks that ever got in this mess they would probably prefer the JN Police. It is not a cake walk in a military brig. The hand over is not done to ensure the service members rights are not violated as an U.S. Citizen. As for which has been documented here; NJ’s are guilty until proven innocent. Actually the police has to do some real investigating to ensure they can charge them. The Commanders are just waiting to see the evidence before the person is hung out to dry. Would that not be nice for all of us to get to see the evidence before getting charged. Ohhh.. that is right… you might be lucky enough to see all this the day of your trial if your not under SOFA. If this double standard is not liked then have the government ask the military to leave. Simple as that. America has not fought a war or a conflict since the late 1800’s where we have taken land; but we did spill our blood. We only ask for enough land to bury our dead. Does the U.S. apply pressure on Tokyo? Damn.. right they do. If your sons and daughters were protecting a region other than your own; would you not want the government to be demanding on some issues? Japan has the choice; ask them to leave and become a military power (no one in Asia wants to see that); keep the miliary here and play by the rules that are agreed on.

    As for any of you folks who have never served your country and likes to jump on a bandwagon..Shame on you!

    P.S. In full battle gear..Yuki, I got your back brother.

  • “Go to the Okinawa Times the numbers are there.”

    Unless, of course, you count the protests in 1995 – some of which got close to 100,000. Yes, there has been recent upset about textbooks (the requested changes of which were rescinded), but there have been many equally significant anti-base protests, particularly when something egregious has taken place.

    “U.S. Forces which probably does more volunteer work than any other group in Japan.”

    Do you mean more than, say, university students or housewives or religious groups?

    “The piece that Michael wrote hit the numbers correctly.”

    So do you want to prove that Chalmers Johnson, one of America’s most respected Japan scholars, and the Okinawan Prefectural government, and survey carried out by the Dayton Daily News which shows a shocking rate of sexual assault are incorrect or blatantly lying?

    The US forces in Okinawa are responsible for what averages out to 17.7 heinous crimes a year. Approx. 1 / 1200. These are what are called “Kyouakuhan” in Japanese. In Japan in 2005, there were 14,365 heinous crimes (Murder, Rape, Arson, Kidnapping, Indecent Assault) committed. That works out to a rate of around 1 / 8700 Japanese. The rate of offense for American service people is dramatically higher by around a factor of 7. This enough, should be an insult to a civilian population that has to endure the base presence.

    As we know, the American forces in Okinawa have done nothing concrete to protect Japan’s security in the 50 years since the end of the occupation. Scholars, of whom Chalmers Johnson is representative, are dismissive of claims that the presence of American troops in Okinawa has in any way enhanced the security of the region. Reasoned arguments against this point are, of course, welcome. However, the widespread belief among American service people that “sons and daughters were protecting a region other than your own” does not automatically make this so.

    On this occasion, I applaud the American authorities in Japan for being far more sensitive than Yuki and Larry have been. Apologizing, enacting curfews, etc. is the way to go. Whitewashing will only make a painful situation worse.

  • After reading the JT SOFA article I sent JT a comment essentially stating Bryce’s view. If people–Japanese citizens–Okinawans–don’t care to have the US military using so much land and making so much noise and generally being so so so militaristic, then the stats really don’t matter. It’s an opportunity to protest. Let their voices be heard! Against that rape, and against rape in general, as well as about base issues. And while the US military may have legitimate concerns about the Japanese legal system, Japanese may have legitimate concerns about whether US military will properly punish soldiers who commit crimes.

  • Jean-Paul, I think you’ve got a man crush on Chalmers Johnson.

    While I agree with the general thesis of Johnson’s trilogy of post-Cold War books on America’s misguided military empire, his/your opinion that American forces in Okinawa have done nothing concrete to protect Japan is hardly so commonplace that it can be considered de facto; being dismissive by no means always equates to being correct. Whatever you may think of American military behavior in Okinawa, you must consider the alternative of no U.S. presence: an expanded Japanese military presence. I doubt that would have pleased the regional neighbors–or even the Okinawans themselves. Unless you assume that Japan would not have needed an expanded military presence as the Soviets, Chinese and North Koreans would have behaved splendidly after a U.S. departure immediately after WWII. With that said, I completely agree with you that, for once, the Bush administration handled the alleged rape response properly, with humility–a heretofore unknown characteristic of the administration.

  • “Soviets, Chinese and North Koreans”

    The US-Japan alliance (and the US nuclear umbrella) would have deterred an invasion, would it not? No way to prove definitively that it was the troop presence, not the alliance in general that was the determining factor. I am not aware of any NK, Chinese, USSR documents that suggest that an invasion of Okinawa was planned if ever the US military left – potential evocation of the Anpo treaty and US retaliation be damned.

    “is hardly so commonplace that it can be considered de facto”

    Apart from Chalmers Johnson’s writings, this idea is also common to these works –

    Watanabe, Akio, The Okinawa problem; a chapter in Japan-U.S. relations

    Okinawa: Cold War Island by Chalmers A. Johnson (Editor), but involving many other top academics

    Identity and Resistance in Okinawa by Matthew Allen

    Okinawa and the U.S. military : identity making in the Age of Globalization / Masamichi S. Inoue.

    Myth, protest and struggle in Okinawa / Miyume Tanji.

    Japan and Okinawa : structure and subjectivity / edited by Glenn D. Hook and Richard Siddle (some essays oppose)

    The American occupation of Japan and Okinawa : literature and memory / Michael S. Molasky.

    And in Japanese….

    沖縄ノート (岩波新書)
    大江 健三郎

    中野 好夫, 新崎 盛暉

    沖縄・米軍基地の素顔―フェンスの内側からのリポート NHK沖縄放送局

    沖縄現代史 (岩波新書)
    新崎 盛暉

    藤原 彰

    Is this not the mainstream of Okinawa-specific publishing?

    One author that I can think of who opposes this idea is Eldridge but he publishes mostly journalistic pieces and, in my understanding, is not well-regarded in the English-speaking academic circles.

  • “With that said, I completely agree with you that, for once, the Bush administration handled the alleged rape response properly, with humility–a heretofore unknown characteristic of the administration.”

    The U.S. Marine Corps Commanding General at Camp Butler should have apologized not the President, Sec of State, or US Ambassador. The apology amounts to guilt does it not? Military commanders have the first line responsibility for their servicemen and women.

    Has an apology been made by the taxi driver or 19 y/o Japanese male that killed an employee of the National Basketball Association? What punishment did they receive? Where is the press coverage and outrage on these guys raping/molesting young girls in Okinawa?:


    How about a 74 year old Okinawain male molesting a 11-year old child? Send him to Iraq?


    How about to males arrested for their deeds with two Jr. H.S. girls?

    As I mentioned in previous posts, Hadnotts actions are the frickin’ worst. Punish the fool using the full extent of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. He will lose money, rank, possibly his career, Veteran’s benefits (medical, education, other), become a registered pedophile, and spend a little more time in the brig in my opinion.

    All rape cases in Japnan (and elsewhere) should receive media attention and a call for justice. It is dangerous to pick your battles because the next time this sort of incident occurs, some may think that li’l red riding hood is crying wolf.

  • Here is the latest on the case at MCAS Iwakuni:

    4 US Marines to face courts-martial for alleged rape of Japanese woman
    17 hours ago

    TOKYO — The U.S. military will court-martial four Marines accused of raping a Japanese woman in a case previously dropped by Japanese police, an American military official said Thursday.

    The general courts-martial will begin over the coming months, said Master Gunnery Sgt. John Cordero of the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station in Iwakuni in southern Japan.

    The prosecution of the Marines comes amid furor over a string of criminal accusations against American servicemen based in Japan. The U.S. military has imposed tight restrictions on troops to cut down on potential incidents.

    The four Marines – accused of gang-raping a 19-year-old woman in October – were investigated by Japanese police last year, but the case was dropped in November. U.S. military authorities, however, charged the men in December.

    Japanese police refused to say why they dropped the case.

    Lance Cpl. Larry A. Dean, 20, will face the court in April and Sgt. Lanaeus J. Braswell, 25, in May, Cordero said. Dates for two other Marines – Gunnery Sgt. Carl M. Anderson, 39, and Gunnery Sgt. Jarvis D. Raynor, 34 – have not yet been set.

    The military has not released their hometowns.

    The decision to court-martial them was made Monday after two days of preliminary hearings last month, the military equivalent of civilian grand jury proceedings, according to Cordero.

    Anger has risen on the southern island of Okinawa over the arrest in February of another serviceman on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old girl. Japanese authorities have dropped that case, but the U.S. military is still investigating.

    In the Iwakuni case, media reports said the woman met the four Marines at a restaurant in Hiroshima, and the men drove her to a nearby parking lot where they allegedly raped and robbed her.

    Authorities were not releasing details, but Kyodo News agency reported that the woman said she had agreed to have sex with one of the men, but then the three others joined in, with all four of them raping her.

    About 50,000 U.S. troops are based in Japan under a security pact between the two countries. Many Japanese complain of crime, pollution and noise associated with the bases.

    In the Okinawa case, Japanese police arrested Staff Sgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott, 38, from Camp Courtney in Okinawa over the alleged attack in February. Hadnott was released later after the girl withdrew her criminal complaint against him, though U.S. military authorities are still investigating him.

    In response to that case and other accusations against servicemen, the U.S. military has restricted troops to bases, work sites or off-base housing. Authorities also ordered a review of education guidelines to prevent sexual assault.


    4 U.S. marines facing trial for alleged rape

    The Yomiuri Shimbun

    YAMAGUCHI–The U.S. military is set to court-martial four marines stationed at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Iwakuni Air Station in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, who are suspected of gang-raping a woman in Hiroshima in October, it was learned Thursday.

    The decision to court-martial the marines followed a decision by Japanese prosecutors not to indict them. One marine will be tried in late April and another in early May, both at the Iwakuni Air Station. The schedule for the trials of the other two men has not been decided.

    The U.S. military held an investigation hearing on the four marines in February to decide whether they should be tried at a general court-martial on suspicion of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The military has been considering its response to the alleged incident after interviewing related parties, including the 20-year-old victim of the rape.

    The Hiroshima prefectural police sent papers on the four on suspicion of gang rape to the Hiroshima District Public Prosecutors Office. However, in November, the prosecutors office dropped the case due to a lack of evidence.

    An Iwakuni Air Station spokesman said he could not respond to questions about the circumstances of the alleged criminal act being prosecuted because procedures to set up the trial have begun.

    (Mar. 7, 2008)


  • The story that I was told was that the girl was out late in an area she knew better and accepted the Marines offer for a ride. Of course Japanese will blame it all on the American without telling the whole story.As a former Marine, stationed in Okinawa, I am well aware of the ignorance that we had of Asian culture. This ignorance, however, is no excuse for picking up a young girl for sex. Americans are not able to understand the yes means no, no means yes attitude of Japanese sometimes. Japanese say rude things to me all the time here in Japan, they are not innocent of wrongdoing. I salute Arudou for doing what he does. Its tough for us “gaijin” to make it here in Japan. Ill never change over my citizenship like Dave did but I dont judge him for it like I did before. The people that need to get involved in this country are the diplomats down at the US Embassy. They are more interested in pleasing every wish of the Japanese instead of the American citizentry here in Japan. I honestly think if the Yakuza or some japanese nut attacked me or killed me, the people at the Embassy wouldnt do a damn thing. You ever seen the line outside the gate down there? How bout putting up a tarp or something to keep the rain off those folks waiting to get a visa. I dont agree with Dave on alot and Im sure he wouldnt agree with me, but I respect his fight against the idoits out there. There are legions of them. I think Dave still has more American in him than he realizes.


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