Statement of Protest by the President of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations against the Gang Rape Committed by Members of the United States Navy
On October 16, 2012 in the central part of the main island of Okinawa, a gang rape was committed by two members of the United States Navy. The fear, anger and despair experienced by their victim are beyond description. The Japan Federation of Bar Associations (hereinafter ‘this Federation’) strongly protests against this heinous and despicable sexual crime in which members of the United States Navy treated a woman with complete contempt for her dignity, and by which they caused her profound unhealable psychological damage.
Since the sexual assault of a girl by the United States servicemen in 1995, brutal crimes in blatant violation of the rights of women have not ceased. Behind the frequent occurrence of crimes committed by members of the United States forces in Okinawa is a structural problem. 74% of the total United States forces stationed in Japan are concentrated in Okinawa. This means that citizens of Okinawa have no choice but to live beside the United States military bases. Every time crimes of this kind come to light, the United States and Japanese governments promise “tightening the discipline” and “preventing reoccurrence,” but in reality there has been no improvement whatsoever.
This Federation strongly urges the governments of the United States and Japan to squarely face the issue of the great cost to the citizens of Okinawa incurred by the United States bases in Okinawa, including the violation of the rights of women. This Federation requests the governments of the United States and Japan to make immediate practical efforts to achieve a rearrangement and a reduction of the United States bases as soon as possible so that the people of Okinawa can live a peaceful and secure life a day sooner.
This Federation also strongly urges the governments of the United States and Japan to undertake at once a comprehensive review of egregiously unfair provisions of the United States-Japan Status of Forces Agreement such as those relating to the use of bases and to criminal procedures, and implement amendments promptly.
In cases of sexual crimes that attract such public attention, the victims often suffer secondary damage. in the form of an infringement of their right to privacy and an injury to their reputation due to the exposure of the incident in the media. To avoid such a circumstance in this case, we request that all media organizations respect the wishes of the victim by reporting with due consideration especially for the victim’s right to privacy and the protection of her reputation.
November 2, 2012
President, Japan Federation of Bar Associations