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Recent Rape and Anti-Base Uprisings

Following the September 4, 1995 rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by three U.S. servicemen, the Okinawan people rose up in indignation at the crime and organized themselves in massive protests. In many ways the Women's and Peace Movements in Okinawa played a central role in these anti-base protest activities. Voicing longstanding resentment at the U.S. military presence, the people in Okinawa held continuous demonstrations, culminating in a huge anti-base rally on October 21, 1995 of 85,000 people that represented roughly 10 percent of the total population of the islands. Holding a non-binding prefecture-wide plebiscite in 1996, 95% of the Okinawan people voted for the removal of the U.S. military bases.

Following the widespread nature of the protests, in Okinawa, Japan, and abroad, the U.S. military, in an unusual move, handed the three military servicemen responsible for the crime over to Japanese civilian authorities. There a Japanese court found the military personnel guilty and sentenced them to a seven-year sentence in Japanese prisons.

After the closure of this case, however, the Okinawan people continue to mobilize actively around issues related to the removal of the military bases.

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