The recent rape of a woman has added fuel to the fire of resentment over U.S. troops on the Japanese island of Okinawa causing local lawmakers to pass a protest resolution on Monday expressing "indignation" over troops committing crimes with impunity, and has fueled calls to rid the island of U.S. bases.
The most recent incident of the 5,747 crimes committed by U.S. military personnel since Okinawa was returned to Japanese control in 1972 involves the rape of a Japanese woman by two 23-year-old U.S. sailors, who both now admit to the charge.
"Yet another incident has taken place. In fact, the severity of the incidents is intensifying," the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly resolution said. "With overwhelming indignation, we must question the present efforts of the US Forces to prevent such incidents from happening."
Masaharu Kina, chair of the assembly, told reporters, "Our rage is indescribable."
Kyodo news reports that the resolution "also said the incident, coupled with the deployment of Osprey aircraft at a U.S. base in Okinawa, 'have prompted the residents here to raise voices to seek complete removal of U.S. bases in Okinawa.'"
Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima told reporters in Washington on Sunday, "We are so fed up with this because incidents like this have often occurred since before," and said, "I must let (Americans) know of such sentiment in Okinawa."
Agence France-Presse reports that about half of the 47,000 US military personnel based in Japan are stationed in Okinawa.