US soldier accused of beating Japanese child


This video is called Okinawa-Island of Protest- Part 1.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

US serviceman accused of punching teenage boy

Friday 02 November 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

Japanese leaders were fuming today after a drunk US serviceman allegedly broke into a flat and punched a 13-year-old boy on Okinawa.

The 1am attack came as US personnel were supposed to be subject to a night-time curfew after two US sailors were arrested for allegedly raping a woman two weeks ago.

The 24-year-old airman fell from a third-floor window after the assault and police are expected to arrest him when he leaves hospital.

Japanese Defence Minister Satoshi Morimoto called the incident “unforgivable” and lodged a formal complaint with US ambassador John Roos.

After meeting Foreign Ministry officials Mr Roos said: “It is incredibly unfortunate that the purported actions of a few reflect badly on thousands of young men and women here in Japan, away from their homes, that are here for the defence of Japan.”

But the alcohol-fuelled assault is just the latest in a long line of US service members’ alleged crimes on the island, which have become a running sore with the local population.

The Japanese Communist Party said US forces have officially committed nearly 5,800 crimes since returning Okinawa to Japanese control in 1972, which they said was “the tip of the iceberg” as many more victims are scared to come forward.

US bases on Okinawa take up roughly 18 per cent of the island’s land and host more than half of the 52,000 US troops in Japan.

The injured attacker is based at the Kadena Air Base, itself a long-standing source of friction with Okinawa locals.

More than 100,000 people demonstrated in September against the deployment of the Osprey hybrid aircraft on the islands.

The aircraft has been involved in a number of safety failures and many object to it being stationed so close to built-up civilian areas.

It’s a particularly thorny issue as the US agreed to shut the base more than a decade ago after mass protests erupted following the rape of a schoolgirl by three US servicemen.

Base officials said they were “fully co-operating” with Okinawa authorities “to ensure justice is served.”

US soldiers accused of Okinawa rape


This video from Japan says about itself:

Anger has spread among residents of Okinawa Prefecture in the wake of the arrest of a U.S. Marine for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl from a local junior high school.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Two US sailors accused of Okinawa rape

Case worsens US military’s relations with Japanese islanders amid continued furore over stationing of Osprey aircraft

Justin McCurry in Tokyo

Wednesday 17 October 2012 06.16 BST

Two American sailors have been arrested on suspicion of raping a woman in Okinawa, raising the possibility of further protests against the US military presence on the southern Japanese island.

The suspects, named as Christopher Browning and Skyler Dozierwalker, both 23, were arrested after allegedly raping the woman as she walked home in the early hours of Tuesday.

The alleged victim, who is in her 20s, later identified the sailors at an off-base housing complex, local media said. The two men, who are in Japanese police custody, had reportedly been drinking before the alleged incident.

The case has come at a particularly sensitive time for relations between the US military and residents in Okinawa, which hosts more than half of the approximately 47,000 US military personnel in Japan.

Lingering resentment at the large US military footprint on the island turned to anger recently following the controversial deployment earlier this month of 12 Osprey aircraft at Futenma, a marine corps base located in the middle of a densely populated city.

“This [the rape case] is the worst possible timing,” Kyodo quoted an aide to the prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, as saying, adding that Tokyo had lodged a strong protest with the US authorities.

Japanese islanders against unsafe military aircraft


This video is called Over 50,000 Okinawans to protest Osprey deployment.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

100,000 Okinawa islanders tell US to keep ‘unsafe’ Osprey plane away

Sunday 09 September 2012

by Our Foreign Desk

Up to 100,000 Japanese activists rallied against US plans to deploy Osprey hybrid aircraft at their base on Okinawa today.

The protesters gathered at a seaside park on the southern island to demand the scrapping of plans to deploy 12 MV-22 Osprey aircraft, insisting that they are unsafe.

The US plans to deploy the Osprey, which takes off like a helicopter and flies like a plane, to replace the older CH-46 helicopters currently there.

Long-standing safety concerns increased after Osprey crashes in Morocco and Florida earlier this year and an incident in North Carolina last week – euphemistically called a “precautionary landing” by officials – further aggravated the sentiment.

“We refuse to accept a deployment of Osprey that have already proven so dangerous,” said Atsushi Sakima, mayor of Ginowan City where the US intends to base the Ospreys.

“Who is going to take responsibility if they crash onto a populated neighbourhood?”

Activists cheered in support, waving red banners and placards with a message saying “Osprey No!”

The tilt-rotor aircraft have been used extensively in Iraq and Afghanistan and the US insists that they have a solid record.

But Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima has asked Japan’s central government to seek a full US investigation into the Osprey crashes and suspend their deployment until the aircraft’s safety is verified.

The Osprey deployment plan has also reignited long-running anger over the heavy presence of US troops on Okinawa and has become a headache for officials in Tokyo and Washington hoping to calm anti-base sentiment.

Okinawans are particularly angry because the Ospreys will be deployed to Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, which the two countries agreed would be shut down more than a decade ago.

The base has remained in operation because a replacement site hasn’t been found.

Earlier in the year, the US it would delay flights of Osprey in Japan until it won the country’s confidence, but the US military appears to have run out of patience in the face of continuing protests.

US Agent Orange scandal in Japan


This video is called Decades On, Agent Orange Still Stalks Vietnam.

By Jon Mitchell, The Asia-Pacific Journal:

US Military Defoliants on Okinawa: Agent Orange

Thursday 15 September 2011

Introduction

On August 19th, 2011, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement in response to recent media coverage about the US military’s use and storage of defoliants (including Agent Orange) on Okinawa during the Vietnam War. MOFA announced that, although it had requested the US Department of Defense to investigate these allegations, Washington had replied that it was unable to find any evidence from the period in question. As a result, Tokyo asked the US government to re-check its records in more detail. This was the first time that the Japanese government had asked the US about military defoliants since 2007 – and its refusal to accept the Pentagon’s stock denial was rare. The current announcement arose after two weeks of unprecedented press reports which alleged that these chemicals had been widely used on Okinawa during the 1960s and ‘70s.

With fresh revelations coming to light on a regular basis, this is still a rapidly developing issue. However in this paper, I will attempt to unravel the situation as it currently stands. Starting with a brief overview of the role of Okinawa during the Vietnam War and the military’s use of defoliants during the conflict, I will then explore the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) rulings of 1998 and 2009 that appeared to offer official recognition of the presence of these defoliants on the island. Following this, I will summarize US veterans’ accounts of their experiences handling these defoliants on Okinawa – including their transportation, storage, spraying and burial. In conclusion, I will assess the obstacles that these veterans and Okinawan residents face in winning an admission from the Pentagon – plus possible signs of hope that, while difficult, such an acknowledgement is achievable.

Children of Agent Orange: here.

“Scorched Earth: Legacies of Chemical Warfare in Vietnam”. Fred A. Wilcox, Seven Stories Press: “The old soldier wears a long-sleeved shirt and shorts. His feet are bare and when he talks he appears to be listening carefully to his own words. Once, he says, this area of Cu Chi was covered with mangrove forests and jungles. Then, the spray planes appeared, moving slowly and quite low over the trees, back and forth until everything shriveled up and died”: here.

It’s Time to Compensate the Victims: Looking Back at Vietnam and Agent Orange. H. Patricia Hynes, Truthout: “In ‘Waiting for an Army to Die,’ Fred A. Wilcox … recounts the stories of Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange and also of Oregon mothers, Arizona potters, and others living near sprayed public lands, all of whom were suffering from a plague of cancers, nervous system effects, miscarriages and birth disorders of their children…. Wilcox takes us inside the tragic, yet gutsy lives of young, working-class vets who were left to die by ‘government stonewalling, bureaucratic shell games and the contempt of multinational corporations’”: here.

A mere 34% of 1940-1960s US Vietnam war records have been released: here.

Britain: Shocked MPs are organising a Westminster fundraising event for young Vietnamese victims of US defoliant Agent Orange after witnessing tragic suffering in a Ho Chi Minh City hospital: here.

Japan’s Illegal Environmental Impact Assessment of the Henoko Base. Sakurai Kunitoshi, The Asia-Pacific Journal – Japan Focus: “Before dawn on December 28, 2011, with the end of the year looming, the Okinawa Defense Bureau (ODB) delivered a load of cardboard boxes to the office of the Okinawa Prefectural Government. The boxes contained copies of the environmental impact statement (EIS) for a base in the Henoko district of Nago that is planned as the replacement for the US Marines Corps Air Station Futenma”: here.

The United States has announced its intention to pull 9,000 marines out of Japan’s southern Okinawa and redeploy them to other locations in the Asia-Pacific region: here.

Japanese Social Democrats say US base out of Okinawa


This is a Japanese video about protests in Okinawa against the US military base.

From Kyodo news agency in Japan:

Fukushima hints at quitting coalition if Futemma remains in Okinawa

TOKYO, Dec. 3

Social Democratic Party leader Mizuho Fukushima hinted Thursday that her party may leave the ruling coalition if the government decides to relocate the U.S. Marine Corps’ Futemma Air Station within Okinawa Prefecture.

Will the U.S. military do right by the dugong? Here.