Okinawa’s governor voicing protests in Washington
Okinawa’s governor is winding up nearly a weeklong visit to Washington D.C., where he’s been making angry protests about the deployment of MV-22 Osprey aircraft to Okinawa’s Futenma Marine Corps Air Station, the Status of Forces Agreement, and the rape of a young Okinawa woman by a pair of sailors who were on temporary duty on his island.
“The anger of Okinawa citizen over the crime is extraordinarily strong,” Nakaima told Kurt Campbell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, and Mark Lippert, assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs. “There are various opinions in Okinawa about U.S. military bases in the prefecture, but no Okinawa citizens have ever thrown stones at U.S. servicemen,” Nakaima said, adding that people in Okinawa have “one-sidedly fallen victim to” problems stemming from the U.S. military presence there.
Nakaima called on the United States to strengthen discipline in its military.
In response, Campbell expressed his grief and regrets, and said he understands that the incident is intolerable to Okinawa citizens. The United States will make an all-out effort to prevent any similar incident from happening, Campbell said, noting that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has instructed him to report on the meeting with Nakaima to her.
The two sailors–Navy Seaman Christopher Browning and Petty Officer Third Class Skyler Dozierwalker–were arrested by the Okinawa prefectural police department last week on the rape allegations. The highest ranking U.S. general in Japan has implemented an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for all military personnel, and apologized for the conduct of the two sailors from the Fort Worth Naval Air Base in Texas.
After starting a night curfew on all U.S. servicemen in Japan in the wake of the rape incident, the U.S. military will also introduce restrictions on the activities of their families there, Lippert told Nakaima.
Hirokazu Nakaima complained about the Ospreys to Pentagon officials, appealing for the two squadrons of tilt-rotor hybrid helicopter-aircraft to be removed. He’s told officials Okinawans are angry and distressed, and don’t trust American and Japanese reports the aircraft is safe.