Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Sacrifice of A Schoolgirl

1995 Rape Case

Many incidences of violence against the Okinawan people by military personnel have taken place since the bases were established. Among these, the rape of a 12-year-old schoolgirl in 1995 is important because o
f the reaction of the Okinawan people and the resulting actions taken by the U.S. and Japanese governments. In the town of Kin in September of 1995, three American soldiers abducted the young girl at knife-point, put her in their rental car, beat her, bound her with duct tape, and gang-raped her (Angst, 2001; Cooley & Marten, 2006).

The incident was “transformed into a symbol of national subjugation,” a representative of the plight of Okinawans who are “routinely ignored” by both mainland Japan and the United States (Angst, 2001, p. 247). This event led to large protests against the U.S. military presence in Okinawa, as well as outrage, by former prefectural governor Ota Masahide and others, at the central Japanese government’s treatment of Okinawa on issues related to U.S. military bases (Mulgan, 2000). The resulting public outrage, both at the incident itself and the U.S. officials’ decision to refuse to turn over the perpetrators to Okinawan authorities for more than three weeks, also led to the establishment of the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (Cooley & Marten, 2006; Angst, 2001; Okinawa Prefecture, 2008).

Angst, L, I. (2001). The Sacrifice of A Schoolgirl: The 1995 Rape Case, Discourses of Power, and Women’s Lives in Okinawa. Critical Asian Studies, 33, 243-266. Retrieved April 5, 2009, from Routledge.
Cooley, A., & Marten, K. (2006). Base Motives: The Political Economy of Okinawa’s Antimilitarism. Armed Forces and Society, 32, 566-583, Retrieved April 7, 2009, from Ebsco Electronic Journals Service.
Mulgan, A, G., (2000). Managing the U.S. Base Issue in Okinawa: A Test for Japanese Democracy. Japanese Studies, 20, 159-177. Retrieved April 9, 2009 from Routledge.

Okinawa Prefecture Government of Military Base Affairs Division

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