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Our Statement of Demand on April 16, 2019

 This is the English translation of our Statement of Demand appealed on the press conference in Okinawa on April 16, 2019. You can find the original Japanese text here in this blog post.  Our spirit, our voice for solidarity beyond the fence line is possible only in translation, that's why I would like to show many thanks to Mayumo san for this cooperation.

April 16, 2019

Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence and women’s networks and groups in Okinawa

Mr. Donald Trump,  President of the United States of America
Mr. Bill Hagerty,  Ambassador of the U.S. Embassy in Japan
Lieutenant General Eric Smith, Commander of the III Marine Expeditionary Force and Okinawa Area Coordinator (OAC)
Mr. Abe Shinzo, Prime Minister of Japan
Mr. Suga Yoshihide, Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan
Mr. Tamaki Yasuhiro, Governor of Okinawa Prefecture

Statement of Demand for Withdrawal of U.S. Military, Clarification of Responsibility to Protect Human Lives, Full Investigation of Facts, and Protection and Care for the Victim’s Child as We Mourn the Woman who was Murdered by a U.S. Navy Sailor in Okinawa

We are terribly shocked as well as saddened by the recent murder of a woman committed by a U.S. Navy sailor that took place in civilian space in the early morning of April 13th, 2019.  Although the details of the incident remain unknown since the perpetrating American soldier committed suicide, the incident took place outside U.S. military base.  The woman who was murdered had been asking for help from U.S. military police since this January, and the local police had also been informed about this.  It is apparent therefore that the woman was in fear that she could be killed.  She had also been subjected to the perpetrator’s sexual violence even while she was refusing to continue her relationship with him.  The fact that the victim’s child reported this murder incident makes the case even more grave.  It is necessary that those who have relations to the victim be given proper support and care as well as protection of privacy.

On April 2, Lieutenant General Eric Smith, commander of the III Marine Expeditionary Force and Okinawa Area Coordinator (OAC), loosened the restriction imposed upon off-duty U.S. soldiers to visit areas outside U.S. military bases on the basis that it would allow “soldiers to know Okinawa’s charm and to enjoy the island.”  By that date, however, the victim had already let the U.S. military police know her concerns.  The loosening of the restriction occurred in the midst of it.  After the murder incident, Commander Smith apologized to Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki and admitted that the commander himself was fully responsible. We demand that Commander Smith announce how he plans to go beyond his merely verbal apology and take full responsibility substantially.

The fact that this incident took place as soon as the restriction was loosened indicates how the regulation itself is not functioning properly.  This so-called Liberty Policy only brings one-sided “liberty” since it only allows U.S. military personnel to come in and out of Okinawa’s civilian space freely while it does not allow people in Okinawa to enter the bases.  Why did U.S. military loosen the restriction?  Why does its plan that allows soldiers “to know Okinawa’s charm and to enjoy the island” take priority over lives of people who live in Okinawa?

In addition, this April marks the third anniversary of the incident in which another woman was killed by a former Marine.  The incident this time makes it clear that the “patrol” that the Japanese government has been offering since the previous incident has become a mere formality.

Above all, we mourn the precious life that has been taken away.  The fear and suffering that the woman was in is beyond one’s imagination.  This could happen to any one of us who lives in Okinawa.  The woman who was killed can no longer voice her protest.  We raise our voice as people who share her pain and suffering.

As incidents occur repeatedly, those of us who live in Okinawa, where the long-term presence of military and military bases has been imposed upon us, have repeatedly felt torn by remarks and attitudes that humiliate victims.  We strongly demand that the dignity of those who have experienced suffering be respected in the first place.

We have been arguing that “the military is an organization of structural violence, and, as such, does not guarantee human security either in time of peace or in time of war.”  Military and military bases are deeply destructive of human body and psyche.  Military violence is damaging to both people inside the fence and people outside it.  Now is the time for us to show our anger together and raise our voice in solidarity.

We demand the following from both U.S. and Japanese governments, U.S. military, and Okinawa Prefecture so that they face the reality that is brought by the presence of military and its bases and so that they take responsible actions.

1.  We demand that those who are close to the victim, including children, receive apology, protection, and care.

2.  We demand that the truth be fully investigated and that the analysis of the reasons for perpetrating the crime be fully disclosed to people in Okinawa.
3. We demand that the restriction on U.S. soldiers’ off-duty activity outside the bases not be loosened.

4. We demand that Japanese government and Okinawa Prefecture clarify their responsibility for protecting those who live in Okinawa.

5.  We demand that all military presence and military bases be withdrawn from Okinawa so that people who live in Okinawa will achieve a truly safe society. 

(English translation by Inoue Mayumo)




  [English translation is here]

アメリカ合衆国大統領 ドナルド・トランプ 殿
駐日米国大使 ウイリアム・F・ハガティ 殿
在沖米軍四軍調整官 エリック・スミス 殿
内閣総理大臣 安倍晋三 殿
内閣官房長官 菅義偉 殿
沖縄県知事 玉城康裕 殿