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Regarding the Feb. 13 article “Okinawa rape case sparks resentment“: So the Japanese government and people are “outraged” by another alleged rape of an underage Okinawan schoolgirl by a U.S. Marine. Is it just me who thinks these outpourings of outrage are driven by the fact that a foreigner is involved rather than by the alleged crime itself?

I’m no expert, but I know from years of reading the Japanese press and talking to Japanese women that rape is not generally treated as seriously as a crime as in the West. Rapists are not diligently hunted down by the police and women are not treated sensitively during the investigation process. Of course not — police are too occupied with hunting down stolen bikes (or, an even bigger imperative, bikes stolen by foreigners). And of course women “ask for it’ by wearing provocative clothes.

If only this case could change the general perception of rape. But all it does is stoke more distrust and hatred of foreigners. Meanwhile, hundreds of Japanese women face the physical and mental pain of a crime that hardly rates as one in this country.

laura holland