This latest incident involving American troops in Okinawa has further angered residents of the island, particularly after the reports that emerged on 19 October of the rape of a high-school girl by another soldier stationed there. It has also raised questions about the future of troops in Japan, given that their behaviour has caused great distress to Okinawan citizens in particular.
The articles below explain the facts of the case as they are currently understood, along with netizen reactions to the incident.
US Soldier Defies Night Time Curfew – Accused of Breaking and Entering A Home and Attacking Middle School Student After Consuming Alcohol
At approximately 1 a.m. on 2 November, police were called to a restaurant in the Yomitan area of Okinawa after a male customer became violent. They discovered that a man belonging to the US Army had collapsed there, and took him to the military hospital in nearby Camp Lester. Reports also surfaced that the man had attacked a 13-year-old boy, as well as breaking and entering into a civilian dwelling. This is being investigated by police.
According to the police, the man was carrying a US soldier’s ID card at the time. He is reported to be 24 years old, and a soldier belonging to the Kadena Air Base.
After the rape of a Japanese woman by two US soldiers at the Army’s Okinawa headquarters in October, US soldiers are currently subject to a night time curfew, forbidding them from leaving their barracks between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. The recent string of incidents involving US soldiers has caused a strong backlash in Japan.
The mayor of Yomitan, Denjitsu Ishimine, released a statement severely criticising the latest incident: ‘As the representative of Yomitan’s citizens, I am extremely angry. The night time curfew was completely useless. The assailant should be handed over to the Japanese authorities immediately.’
From Ryukyu Shimpo:
Before the police arrived, the soldier entered an apartment on the 3rd floor of the same building as the restaurant and attacked a 13-year-old boy who was asleep there.
According to the police, the boy sustained a bruise to his left cheek, which will take a week to heal.
After the man hit the child, he smashed a TV in the room, before falling to the ground after attempting to jump from the window. An elementary school child was also in the room at the time, but was unharmed.
The soldier is currently under going treatment for fractured ribs and a punctured lung.
Comments from Yahoo!News.co.jp:
What was the point of the night time curfew? This was complete defiance of a court-martial order!
Breaking the curfew is bad enough.. But attacking a middle school student? The whole nation will be unable to suppress their anger this time.
I wonder why the behaviour of the US soldiers is so bad??
So, this US Army is going to protect Japan? Yeah, right.
I pray that the woman who was assaulted won’t be traumatised [by this latest incident].
Isn’t the standard of the US soldiers falling? Maybe all the soldiers who come to Okinawa were juvenile delinquents…
They’ve only just brought in the night time curfew! The punishments are too lenient, so the soldiers take the piss. This time, the soldier should be punished properly.
At this crucial time when we’re having trouble with the Senkaku Islands, this kind of continuing bad behaviour is extremely worrying…
Did they think they could take a vacation if they came to Okinawa? I mean, even on vacation this wouldn’t be acceptable, but still…
‘I wonder why the behaviour of the US soldiers is so bad??’ It’s because they offload all the guys they don’t want in their own country to us.
This isn’t a recent thing. It’s not reported on the mainland, but American soldiers getting drunk, smashing glass, etc., is an everyday occurrence. Sometimes bags weighing tens of kilograms fall out of US helicopters, or Army jeeps drive around on elementary school playing fields for no reason, etc… They just excuse it all as ‘improvement of operations’ or some such lie.
The US Army should withdraw from Okinawa and station themselves on the Senkaku Islands instead. Nobody lives there so nobody would be bothered by their actions.
These kinds of issues won’t go away unless the Status of Forces Agreement is changed. So why is it that the democratic government isn’t standing up and taking charge of the situation…………………………………………………….?
Try them under Japan’s laws!
This kind of thing happens just after the curfew was introduced?
If it’s true, it’s disobedience of a direct order, and they should be shot.
I can’t think of any other way to handle this than to abolish the Status of Forces Agreement.
It comes down to a problem with people’s individual sense of morality.
The US soldiers have dubious morals…
This is a problem.
Is everyone in the country aware of this? That those US soldiers’ wages, water bills and gas bills, they’re all paid for with our taxes. Even though we do this for them, they continue this kind of disgraceful behaviour and this unbalanced relationship… I feel the pain of the Okinawan people. They’re not America’s colony.