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Letter of demand on May 20

May 20, 2016
[Japanese Original]

Mr. Barack Obama, President of the United States
Ms. Caroline Kennedy, United States Ambassador to Japan
Mr. Lawrence D. Nicholson, United States Military Okinawa Area Coordinator (OAC)
Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan
Mr. Yoshihide Suga, Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan

Mr. Takeshi Onaga, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture

Letter of Demand to Mourn the Victim of the Murder Incident linked to the Former U.S. Marine, to Fully Investigate the Truth, and to Immediately Withdraw U.S. Military Forces in Okinawa 

 A day ago on May 19, a woman who had been missing since the end of April, was found dead, and a former U.S. Marine soldier was arrested as the suspect. As we face this harrowing incident, we grope for words to say. We cannot help but to feel our rage welling up in us with pain.

But we’ve also begun to hear remarks from those who neglect to attend to such rage and suffering. They seek to evade responsibility, reduce the graveness of the incident, and treat it as part of a political game. In such a circumstance, we cannot choose to be silent. We have gathered here to raise our voices.

First and foremost, we mourn the loss of a precious life that has been taken away. We demand that people who have cared for her not be deprived of their time and opportunity to remember her.

We cannot calm our raging hearts as we try to imagine how much fear and suffering she must have been in. Those of us who live in Okinawa are shocked beyond words as we recognize that this could have happened to us. So we stand together in pain and suffering.

We have been torn numerous times by remarks and attitudes that degrade the victims of military violence in Okinawa, where the continuing presence of the military bases and troops has been imposed upon for decades. We strongly demand that the dignity of the victimized person be respected.

In mid-March this year, a U.S. soldier sexually assaulted a woman at a hotel in Naha. At that time, Lt. General and US Military’s Okinawa Area Coordinator Lawrence D. Nicholson apologized to Okinawa Prefecture’s Governor Takeshi Onaga and remarked, “Today, I came here to represent 27,000 uniformed members, 17,000 families, 4,000 civilians, 50,000 Americans.” A mere two months have passed. Has the U.S. military failed again to keep its promise to enforce strict discipline and take preventive measures? How will it fulfill these responsibilities?

We have always insisted that “the military is an organization of structural violence and does not protect human security in times of war or peace.” Military bases and troops have profoundly destroyed human bodies and spirits, and this has been the case within and outside the fences. We urge each and every member of the U.S. troops, the civilian employees of U.S. military, and their families that are stationing in Okinawa: mourn, rage, and voice your protest in solidarity with us. Please do not act as if you have nothing to do with this.

We strongly urge both U.S. and Japanese governments, US military forces, and Okinawa Prefecture to face the reality brought by the presence of the bases and troops and take actions responsibly. For these purposes, we strongly demand from them the following:

1. We demand that those who have been close to the victim receive proper apology and care.

2. We demand that the truth of the incident be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrator be rigorously punished.

3. We demand that all military bases and troops in Okinawa be withdrawn so that we can achieve truly safe society for people living in Okinawa.

Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, Committee for One-Stop Assistance Center, Rape Emergence Intervention Counselling Center Okinawa (REICO), Group on Gender Issues, Women’s Groups Liaison Council Okinawa, Japan Womens' Council I Okinawa, New Japan Women’s Association Okinawa, Okinawa Prefecture Mothers’ Congress Liaison Committee, Okinawa Teachers Union, Okinawa Senior High School Teachers Union, Okinawa Association of Retired Teachers, Okinawa Association of Retired Senior High School Teachers, SEALDs Ryukyu, Mothers Against War Okinawa, Naha Broccoli, Citizens Group Wankara, Peace Camp Okinawa Preparatory Committee, Project Disagree, Concerned Students in Okinawa Prefecture, Nago Council against the Construction of the U.S. On-Sea Heliport and for Peace, No Helipad Takae Resident Society, We Planning, Okinawa Korea People’s Solidarity, WILPF Kyoto, Citizens' Association for the Study of International Law, Yomitan Network for Opposing the Strength of Torii Station and Making the Best Use of the Municipal Ordinance of Village Autonomy, “Start from here, now”, Okinawan Studies 107, Hawaii Peace and Justice, HOA: Hawaii Okinawa Alliance, las barcas Journal, monaca (Movement of Nonames Against Campus Abduction), Iinagu Women’s Group to Support Mayor Inamine and Nago City Government, Anna Group in Miyako, Tida no Fua Group to Make Peaceful Future for the Islander Children, Okinawa Prefectural Association for Popularization of the Peace Constitution, Okinawa Civil Liberties Union
[Updated on May 21, 2016]