Japanese protest after US soldier arrested for alleged rape

(Morning Star, Wednesday 13 February 2008)

OKINAWA residents unanimously passed a resolution at their local parliament on Tuesday condemning the alleged rape of a local teenager by a US soldier.

Staff Sergeant Tyrone Hadnott was arrested on Monday on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old local girl on Sunday night.

The assembly of Naha demanded that US army officials, the US ambassador to Japan and the Japanese prime minister "find out the facts, apologise to the victim and her family members and take action to prevent US soldiers from repeating such crimes."

The assembly also called on Tokyo to rethink its relationship with Washington and reduce the number of US bases and servicemen on the island.

Okinawa city mayor Mitsuko Tomon and other officials handed a letter of protest to the US consulate-general in Okinawa, demanding that the US army "enhance its moral education and reinforce its discipline."

The letter asked the US to publish the measures that it has taken to prevent a recurrence of such crimes as soon as possible.

And an Okinawa women's group has sent an open letter to US President George W Bush demanding the evacuation of all US occupation forces from Okinawa.

Okinawa hosts about 75 per cent of US occupation forces in Japan.

A Message from the Women of Okinawa