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Recent Incidents Involving Japanese Self Defense Forces

Violence by military forces is not necessarily an issue limited by nationality, as evidenced by this recent incident involving Japanese Self-Defense Forces. The Okinawa Peace Network of Los Angeles continues to oppose militarization in all its many forms.

The Japan Times
Mar. 18, 2001

Top defense brass apologize over rape case in Okinawa

A top official of the Japan Defense Agency apologized Saturday to Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine after the arrest Friday of an Air Self-Defense Force officer on suspicion of raping a local schoolgirl. It is extremely rare for the Japanese central government to send top brass to apologize for illegal acts committed by military personnel.

The move is widely seen as an attempt to prevent negative sentiment toward the military in Okinawa from further deteriorating after the spate of incidents involving U.S. military personnel stationed in the prefecture.

Police said 1st Lt. Hiromitsu Meguro, 34, stationed at an ASDF base in Onna in central Okinawa, grabbed the girl's bag as she was traveling home Monday and forced her into his car before raping her near the beach.

Authorities were led to Meguro by his cell phone number, which he gave to the girl, police said. The arrest came the same day Gov. Inamine issued a strong demand to the central government to enter bilateral negotiations with the United States on the cutback of the number of U.S. Marines stationed in the prefecture.

"I know apology will not solve the matter but we wish to express our utmost sincerity and apologize from the bottom of our hearts," Shigeru Ishiba, the agency's vice parliamentary minister, told Inamine at the Okinawa Prefectural Government office. He handed a letter of apology from agency chief Toshitugu Saito to Inamine and pledged thorough enforcement of discipline among SDF personnel. The agency made the decision to send the delegates, including Ishiba and ASDF Chief of Staff Shoji Takegouchi, at an emergency meeting convened early Saturday.

The mission also summoned all the officers at the ASDF's Naha base to instruct them on the thorough enforcement of discipline. The ASDF set up a recurrence prevention panel within the Air Staff Office on Friday.

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