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Archive for October 27th, 2012

Tensions are on the rise in Japan over the US military bases in the country in the wake of fresh charges of sexual assault filed against two US Navy servicemen, Press TV reports.

Japan’s Okinawa Prefecture, which hosts a majority of US bases, is brewing with anti-US sentiments over the incident.

The assault case involved two 23-year-old Texas-based marines who were on a brief visit to Okinawa.

The public fury has been reflected by local political leaders, despite Governor Hirokazu Nakaima’s admiration of the serious US investigation into the assault during a meeting with US officials in Washington.

The reluctance on the part of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s government to take serious political action regarding the issue has disappointed Okinawans and prompted political leaders representing districts directly affected by the bases to voice their anti-US stance.

They are now demanding action not only on stalled plans to relocate the controversial Futenma base, but also on the controversial deployment of six MV-22 Osprey aircraft in Okinawa on October 1. The deployment of the helicopter-plane hybrids sparked days of angry demonstrations around the US Futenma air station.

Speaking to media this week in Tokyo, vocal lawmaker Chobin Zukeran called for nothing short of the complete removal of all US bases in Japan.

“The US marines, they are rotating; they stay in Okinawa for a year, or two years, or three years , and then they are moving and then new marines are coming,” Zukeran said.

“As long as the marines are there its every difficult for them to change their behavior,” he stressed.

Officials of the US Navy in Japan have prefaced their apologies with reminders that a vast majority of their servicemen exhibit acceptable behavior.

They argue that US troops undergo ‘sensitivity training’ in bases and are encouraged to interact with local communities.

But given the growing anti-US sentiments among the Japanese, Okinawan political leaders are calling for more drastic and quick changes to the bases.

from PressTV

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