Resolution: Condemning the sexual assault and murder of Okinawan woman by former US Marine and calling for withdrawal of US military from Okinawa, Japan

June 22, 2016


The International Board of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, meeting June 2016,

Noting that on 19 May 2016, the body of a 20-year old Okinawan woman who had been missing for nearly a month was found in a bushed area of Onna Village near the United States Marine Corps Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan, after a former US Marine living in Okinawa who had been apprehended by the local authority a few days earlier admitted that he was cruising around to find a woman to assault in the area where he had been stationed during his service years as a Marine, and that he had raped and killed her;

Noting further that this case is literally one of the countless cases of sexual violence committed by US military personnel in Okinawa since 1945, when US military officially started to station there as a result of the defeat of Japan in the Asia Pacific War;

Recalling that Okinawa, though a part of Japan, was directly occupied by the US military until 1972 whereas the rest of Japan regained independence in 1952 by the San Francisco Peace Treaty, and noting that as an archipelago locating in the mid-point between Tokyo and Manila, Okinawa has been identified by the US military as “the keystone of the Pacific,” has been imposed upon to host the US military;

Further recalling that particularly since 1953 the US Marine Corps was relocated from the mainland Japan to Okinawa, which since then has hosted a large number of US Marines who have been deployed to the wars waged by the United States in Asia and beyond including the Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and Iraq and Afghan wars;

Pointing out that although Japan as a country has not been a party to any armed conflicts since 1945, as its Constitution renounces war as a sovereign right to solve international disputes, people in Okinawa have suffered negative impacts caused by the US military presence such as lack of sovereignty, environmental destruction, violation of their basic human rights, and sexual assaults, to name a few;

Noting that in case of crimes committed by US military personnel, the Status of Forces Agreement concluded between Japan and the United States has often “protected” the US military personnel, with the first jurisdiction going over to the US military, thus denying justice for Okinawan victims and highlighting that sexual assault is one of the most negatively affected crimes by this first jurisdiction clause of the US-Japan SOFA;

Supporting feminist peace movements in Okinawa, such as Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, in arguing that sexual violence by the US military is a manifestation of the violence intrinsic to the institution of the military in training the soldiers to be able to kill the enemy and that while racism is a more tangible and visible part of the training to make a young man into a professional soldier, sexism and misogyny underlies more deeply in the training and the values of the institution to maximize the destructive power of soldiers;

Believing that sexual assault committed by US soldiers is an inevitable problem faced by people in the host community and that in order to abolish sexual violence by US military personnel, the presence of the US military has to end;

Calls for a thorough investigation of the most recent rape and murder, not hampered by the US-Japan Status Forces Agreement and the provision of care of the family members of the victim; and

Demands the withdrawal of the US military from Okinawa and the closure of all military bases and installations on Okinawa.

Access to Justice Gender Based Violence Human Rights Violations Militarisation Sexual Violence Women's Human Rights Japan United States Resolution

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