WASHINGTON – About 80 prominent scholars and activists are calling on the U.S. government to close its military bases in Okinawa Prefecture over a base worker’s alleged involvement in the death of a local woman.
The scholars and activists include Peter Kuznick, an American University professor who is a staunch advocate of abolishing nuclear weapons, and cognitive scientist Noam Chomsky.
In a recently released statement, the activists encouraged the administration of President Barack Obama to discuss with Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga the crimes committed by U.S. servicemen and the possibility of shutting the U.S. military bases there. Onaga requested a meeting with Obama during his G-7 visit but was rebuffed by the Abe administration.
“We are horrified by the recent rape and murder of a young woman from Okinawa by a former U.S. Marine,” it said. “Many of us have been to Okinawa, and stand with the peace-loving people there in demanding the complete withdrawal of U.S. military bases from that beautiful island.”
The arrest last week of Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, 32, a former marine who works at the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, reignited anti-American sentiment in the prefecture, which has a heavy U.S. military presence.
Investigative sources have said the suspect admitted to killing the 20-year-old victim after sexually assaulting her.
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