Saturday, March 1, 2008

"Lockdown" Continues in Okinawa

The U.S. Marine that was accused of raping a 14 year old Okinawan girl has been released uncharged.

In my book, he's still a creep, since he admitted to holding her down and forcibly kissing her. No word on what else might have taken place, or whether or not either of them has a history of this type of behavior.

In the meantime, U.S. forces in Okinawa are still restricted to base (including family members). This "period of reflection," as it is being called, will be reevaluated by the Commanding General on Monday. No word about the likelihood of the restrictions being lifted.

If I were a betting man, I would guess that the overall restriction will be lifted, but that a curfew of some sort will remain in place.

There is a huge outcry among those that would blame the Marine Corps for this whole mess, while they ignore the fact that other branches have had serious incidents here as well. One look at the USAF DUI rate here would be enough...

As far as the local populace, the average Okinawans don't seem all that excited about any of this. Many business owners are in a huff over the loss of business that the restrictions are causing, but that's about it. A minority of anti-Americans here are almost pissing themselves with glee over the current situation, but that's to be expected. The usual crowds are still gathering, with the same poorly written signs, outside the gates of a few bases.

The Japanese media is spinning this the way one would expect the media to spin it: "All of the woes in Japan are the fault of America." I guess they can't be bothered to report that teenage girls are much more likely to be assaulted by an Okinawan than by an American.

I still think that Okinawa is a great place with a very low crime rate. It's a shame that a few bad apples (from both Okinawa and America) are doing their best to spoil it for the rest of us.

As far as being restricted to base, it's an inconvenience, nothing more. I miss my favorite restaurants in town, but I can wait...

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