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Local and central government officials such as Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima and Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda have made blanket statements about the discipline of members of the U.S. military. If they would just take the time to research the statistics available through the Japanese Justice Department, they would see that the U.S. military in Japan has the lowest crime rate of any population group in Japan.

Further bellicose rhetoric by the mayor of Okinawa City that the U.S. military needs to learn to “behave like human beings” is inflammatory and unfounded.

The fact is that U.S. military people are very dignified and honorable. It is only a very, very few individuals who step outside of the framework established by the military, and commit crimes. Should we think that all Okinawans are drunks because we see a few passed out on the sidewalks in the mornings? Of course not, and neither should all Americans or American military personnel be thought of as evil thugs by the politicians of Okinawa/Japan.

Just as the individuals who break the law suffer consequences, we must all understand that there are consequences for our actions and words. I have already seen warnings posted on tourist sites from those who have been subjected to the irrational generalization by local politicians. Everyone stands to lose if this negative type of rhetoric continues.

billy fanska