Despite declarations from high-level Japanese government officials to the contrary, it is no secret that the Japanese no longer want U.S. military forces here. Who can really blame them? If my country had to play host to foreign military troops for 60 years, I would want to see these troops leave too.
It is noteworthy, though, that despite the millions of U.S. personnel who have been stationed throughout Japan since the end of World War II, only 16 sexual assaults, rape and murders are documented as having been committed by military members between 1955 and 2008 (according to a Japanese vernacular newspaper). That’s 0.26 rape per year. These figures do not, of course, reflect incidents that went unreported, yet they nonetheless are the sort of statistics that most cities and countries would love to boost. But no one cares about that. Politics seems to be the only thing driving people’s “outrage” these days.
Everyone, including the media, seems to have forgotten what is really important for the victim: justice. The three U.S. service members in the 1995 case were tried under Japanese law and given six- to seven-year prison terms. Where was the justice for the 12-year-old victim in that? They would have gotten anywhere from 15 to 25 years had they been tried in U.S. courts.
That incident should have made some people realize that perhaps punishment for rape is not severe enough under Japanese Law. But, no, the only thing that mattered to Okinawa and Japan at the time was that the incident compelled the U.S. military to plan for the return/relocation of Futenma Air Base.
I have an almost-teenage daughter. I want sexual predators put away for good. I don’t care about politics. I want real justice.