US military personnel will be subject to curfew after the alleged rape of a local by soldiers. US troops will also have to take ‘core values training’. The island’s government is also pressing for an overhaul of the Japan-US Status of Forces Treaty.
Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima said that the incident will force Japan to rethink its security arrangement with the US as the list of abuses by servicemen continues to grow.
“Although I have asked repeatedly for a reduction in crimes and accidents perpetrated by US military personnel, it has happened again,” Nakaima told reporters.
“Problems will always arise as long as the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) remains unchanged,” he said.
The US-Japanese Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) grants most American military staff an exemption from visa regulations and has led to occurrences where US soldiers have escaped Japanese jurisdiction. Two US soldiers were arrested on Tuesday for the alleged rape of a 27-year-old Japanese woman and taken into US custody.
The US said it would consider handing offending soldiers over to the Japanese following the rape of a 12-year-old girl in 1995 by servicemen, but Japanese authorities have voiced complaints that they are often not allowed to interrogate suspects.
The Prefectural Assembly on Japan’s southern island of Okinawa has condemned the US military for its lack of discipline and responsibility over the latest incident that sparked outcry on the island that already harbors strong anti-US sentiment.
Members of a civic group gathered outside the Japanese Prime Minister’s official residence in Tokyo to protest against the US presence in Okinawa on Wednesday. They carried banners, reading “No rape, no base” and condemned US abuses in the region.