‘Our Anger Is Past Its Limit’: Tens Of Thousands Rally Against US Bases In Okinawa

Protesters wearing masks of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, and U.S. President Barack Obama, right, attend a rally in front of the National Diet building in Tokyo Sunday, June 19, 2016. Tens of thousands of Japanese on Sunday protested the presence of U.S. military bases on the southwestern island of Okinawa, many of them wearing black to mourn the rape and killing of a local woman in which a former U.S. Marine is a suspect. The placard, center, reads: "Currently, the Abe administration is going out of control accompanying all Japanese people." (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

Protesters wearing masks of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, center, and U.S. President Barack Obama, right, attend a rally in front of the National Diet building in Tokyo Sunday, June 19, 2016. Tens of thousands of Japanese on Sunday protested the presence of U.S. military bases on the southwestern island of Okinawa, many of them wearing black to mourn the rape and killing of a local woman in which a former U.S. Marine is a suspect. The placard, center, reads: “Currently, the Abe administration is going out of control accompanying all Japanese people.”

Okinawa on Sunday was site of a massive protest against U.S. bases, the latest in years of demonstrations, with fresh anger fueled by the recent suspected rape and killing of a woman on the Japanese island by a former Marine.

Organizers say that 65,000 people took part in the rally in Naha, Okinawa’s capital, and theIrish Times described it as “one of the biggest demonstrations in two decades against U.S. military bases.”

Protesters, who also oppose a plan to relocate a Marine Corps Air Station to another part of the island, held signs reading “Murderer Marines. Out of Okinawa,” and “Our anger is past its limit.”

The island is home to some 30,000 U.S. military personnel, the bulk of the troops the U.S. has stationed in Japan, and local residents have blamed the forces for environmental contamination and crime, including sexual assault. Last month, former U.S. Marine Kenneth Franklin Shinzato was arrested in connection with the April murder of Rina Shimabukuro.

Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga, a base opponent, was at the rally, and referenced another one of the other crimes committed by U.S. military personnel—in 1995 three U.S. servicemenraped a 12-year-old Okinawan girl.  “We had pledged never to repeat such an incident,” hesaid.

“I couldn’t change the political system to prevent that. That is my utmost regret as a politician and as governor of Okinawa,” he added.

Both Onaga and Aiko Shimajiri, the minister for Okinawa, have called for a revision of the Status of Forces Agreement, which restricts Japanese authorities’ abitilty to investigate some crimes by U.S. servicemen while on duty.

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This BBSNews article was syndicated from MintPress News, and written by Andrea Germanos | Common Dreams. Read the original article here.