NAHA, OKINAWA PREF. – Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima expressed strong discontent Monday to the new U.S. consul general over a recent sexual assault allegedly committed by U.S. Marine and urged further discipline for U.S. forces.
At a meeting with Alfred Magleby, Nakaima also called on the United States to give a convincing explanation to the people of Okinawa about the plan to deploy the MV-22 Osprey in the prefecture. The funky tilt-rotor transport aircraft has raised regional safety concerns because of its checkered safety history.
“It is an incident that can never be forgiven,” Nakaima said in reference to Cpl. Iian Tarver, 21, of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Foster, who was arrested Saturday for allegedly molesting and assaulting a woman he did not know. “Something like this should never happen.”
The governor demanded that U.S. forces take preventive steps and enforce discipline.
Magleby responded that his goal is to fully prevent such incidents.
Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan, has long called for reducing the number of U.S. bases there.
Citizens held mass protests in the 1990s over the rape of a 12-year-old girl in Okinawa by three U.S. servicemen.
As for the MV-22 Osprey, which is to be deployed to U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in October, Magleby said he believes the aircraft are safe despite two recent accidents outside Japan.
Nakaima told Magleby it is America’s “obligation to conduct a proper analysis of the accidents and make a convincing explanation to the people of Okinawa.”