Opponents of the US military’s Japanese bases have been crowing over the announcement that all US forces in Japan will be curfewed as punishment for 2 of their number gang raping an Okinawan woman with the belief that they would be safely on a US base in Guam by the time cops acted.
Approximately 40,000 navy and air force personnel throughout Japan have been indefinitely banned from leaving their bases late at night.
As the troops involved in the rape were not actually stationed in Japan, the curfew also extends to US military personnel who are just visiting Japan, the first time such a restriction has had to be enacted.
However, as a temporary measure which will at some point probably be rescinded without change if only to appease local entertainment businesses (seen in the video above already moaning about the loss of business), there is not much optimism that any long-term improvement in relations between bases and natives will be realised.
Whilst there has been some relief expressed at the fact police actually managed to arrest the pair before they escaped onto a base, there has been outrage at the fact it appears they planned the rape in advance in the expectation that they would be able to get out of the country before their victim could go to police.
According to their investigations, the pair had booked into a local hotel for a one night and were due to fly to base postings on Guam on the day of their arrest, having apparently planned to rape their victim and then escape to a base on Guam in the expectation that Japanese police would have extreme difficulty in securing an extradition under the circumstances.
They both returned to the hotel after the rape, only to find police waiting for them.
The method they secured their victim – they approached a random woman at night and greeted her with “arigato!,” which she ignored, prompting them to chase her down and throttle her into submission – has also provoked much disgust.
One of the pair admits both men participated in the rape, whilst the other still maintains he was in his hotel room when it took place. Police recovered articles of the victim’s clothing from their room.
The timing of the incident has proven devastating – even as police were moving to arrest the pair, base authorities were chiding protesters for flying kites in the hopes of discouraging Osprey flights, but by the end of the day were themselves being savaged by the prefectural governor for the depredations of their soldiers.