The alleged rape on Oct. 16 of an Okinawan woman by two U.S. servicemen outside her apartment building in the city of Okinawa has stoked great anger among the prefecture’s residents. Adding insult to injury, Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto and Vice Foreign Minister Shuji Kira made insensitive remarks about the case that have deepened Okinawan resentment and animosity toward the central government.

The use of the word “accident” by both Mr. Morimoto and Mr. Kira to refer to the alleged rape has reinforced a sentiment all too common among Okinawans that the central government has long had a discriminatory attitude toward Okinawa and that it doesn’t take seriously the heavy burden that Okinawans are forced to shoulder due to the large U.S. military presence in the prefecture.

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