A pair of US sailors have been arrested for gang raping an Okinawan woman they plucked off the street, with the incident threatening to further inflame anti-base sentiment in Okinawa, even as Japan’s legion of online rightists provoke widespread disgust by attempting to recast the rapists as innocent victims of an evil Chinese “honey trap.”
The incident occurred on Okinawa, where a Japanese woman was on her way home from work at nearby dining establishment at around 4AM one morning, when a pair of men she had never met before accosted her and sexually assaulted her.
She suffered minor injuries to her neck during the attack, and may also have had her bag stolen. Both men were said to have been drinking. She fled to safety, and the incident was soon reported to police.
A brief manhunt ensued, and the first of the suspects, 23-year-old Seaman Christopher Browning, was arrested at 7:30AM the same morning at a nearby lodging.
Subsequent searches turned up Petty Officer Third Class Skyler Dozierwalker, also 23, on a nearby street early in the afternoon.
They face a variety of charges ranging from gang rape to assault. One of the men admits the charges, whilst the other maintains they are “mistaken.”
Both men are said to have been based at a naval airbase in Forth Worth, Texas, rather than being permanently stationed in Japan, although few seem to consider this distinction particularly pertinent.
Under the current SOFA arrangements between the US military and Japanese government, on base crimes are typically dealt with internally by the US, whilst off base crime is handled by the Japanese authorities – although the US can detain base suspects wanted by the Japanese, an arrangement which has been known to antagonise locals when it appears the US is shielding its personnel from justice.
However, in this case both the crimes and the arrests took place off base, notionally eliminating the US from the equation entirely – although it has been alleged that for some reason crimes committed by US personnel off base are markedly less likely to result in conviction than similar crimes committed by Japanese.
Base advocates – both Japanese and US – have also taken to pointing out the crime rates of US base personnel are actually much lower than Okinawan natives, although this rather unlikely sounding assertion is apparently based solely on statistical sleight of hand: the Japanese police only record and prosecute crimes which occur off base, whilst on base crime – where soldiers obviously spend most of their time - is dealt with by the US military.
As expected, with the recent Osprey deployment and the tensions over the nearby Senkaku islands, an already an extremely tense situation has been further exacerbated, and the prefectural governor was said to be “lost for words” on hearing the news – although he sound found them again, wasting no time in lodging a formal protest with the US over the incident.
Online the spectacle of US soldiers raping yet more Japanese women, even if they were only more of the uppity Okinawans the rest of Japan apparently loathes for not putting up with the bases in mute obedience, is proving hard even for crazed right-wingers to paper over:
“Okinawan women are just US camp followers anyway.”
“Keep our blood pure and close the country off to the foreigners again!”
“The ethnic Koreans and native Okinawans surely have a higher rape rate than the US military anyway.”
“Well done for getting them before they escaped back into their base, cops. Now those filthy left-wingers won’t be able to protest the base.”
“I can’t believe the people you see in these threads covering for the US military and bashing the Okinawans are really Japanese…”
“What was this woman doing outside at 4AM! She should expect to get raped this late even outside Okinawa.”
“Probably some prostitute.”
“American marines are in a constant state of battle readiness, and high on adrenaline. She should have known going near them on her own would make them rape her. She probably wanted them to do it.”
“It’s disgusting watching the likes of Sankei and the net right leap in to call this poor victim a bitch.”
“I do not understand how you maniacs can possibly defend raping a Japanese woman just because of base politics.”
“Why are so many people bashing a Japanese rape victim now? And why bash Okinawans? This is worse than racism…”
“This is about the worst possible timing for another one of these incidents, and the one with the 12-year-old girl was bad enough.”
“I bet the brass are really annoyed by the timing of his.”
“The masochism of the online rightists is really quite something. They don’t trust the JSDF or the Japanese people, and they think China will invade the instant there are no US bases. America won’t commit itself to any war which doesn’t support Israel, we need to amend Article 9 of our constitution and develop a proper military capable of defending us.”
“This is all a honey trap by traitors intent on damaging the good name of the US military!”
“The reports seem to be hiding something. They were near a base but didn’t flee back there, why? One of them even says the arrest was ‘mistaken’ – odd wording!”
“What’s really important is whether this pair was black or white. And Okinawa isn’t part of Japan, it’s a US colony – let them do as they please there, just so long as they keep those filthy Chinese and Koreans in check.”
“I can’t help but think it was orchestrated by Chinese agents to further damage the position of the US.”
“Should we break our alliance with the US just for some Okinawan whore!?”
“Don’t disobey our American masters! This woman is just a tribute to them.”
“It’s a honey trap. The timing is too perfect.”
“You people really do have a vassal mentality. Nobody here wants to criticise our American masters?”
“Just prosecute them according to the law of the land, what more could you ask?”
“These hairy barbarians need to be put in their place!”
“Hurry up and release them, useless cops!”
“You people are so anti-American, it’s unbelievable!”
“I cannot believe the amount of scum who feel inclined to comment on this stuff…”
“It’s pretty unbelievable how far these morons will go to defend the US now…”
“And the US military worshippers are already crafting absurd conspiracy theories about how this is part of some plot to kick out the US.”
“I don’t get where people are getting off thinking they shouldn’t be arrested because they are somehow protecting the Senkaku islands or something.”
“At least the cops got them before they scurried off to the safety of their base. Although this probably had more to do with them being dumb grunts too stupid to flee than police competence.”
“I don’t get it, if these sailors were based in Texas, why were they prowling around Okinawa anyway?”
“They could have been tourists or something, and not staying on base in the first place.”
“The Okinawan press sure are going to relish this…”
“I don’t see any governors saying anything when Japanese or other foreigners rape people in their prefectures.”
“It’s outrageous how everyone leaps on the woman just because she is Okinawan and the perpetrators were US military.”
“We don’t need bases in Okinawa. Please relocate them to Takeshima and the Senkaku islands!”
“What never ceases to amaze me is how the net right is even more desperate than the Americans to try and twist an incident like this.”
“Look, the reason Americans don’t like handing over their soldiers to the Japanese police is not because they are trying to suppress their convictions – it’s because they don’t want some backwater cops forcing them to confess and not even allowing them a lawyer, like our backwards police do.”
“No matter how much you want to protect the Osprey deployment, how can you justify doing this to a woman?”