Since 16 October a curfew has been in place on all US soldiers stationed in Japan restricting them from leaving their bases from 11pm to 5am. This was in response to an incident where two soldiers allegedly raped a young Japanese woman in Okinawa.
However, on 2 November what appeared to have been a drunk American soldier trespassed into a room and struck a young boy. The police investigation is ongoing.
At around 1am that day in Yomitan village, Okinawa police received a report of “a male US military soldier being violent” from a restaurant on the first floor of a building. When they arrived they found a man passed out on the street in front of the building.
He was taken to hospital where he was found to be a 24 year-old soldier from the US military base in Kadena by an ID card he had. Police rushed to confirm the identity.
According to the investigation, the man, after drinking at the restaurant, made his way to the 3rd floor of the building and walked into a room which was unlocked. After that he jumped out of the window, landing on the street in front.
While inside the room the man allegedly struck a middle school student in the face. The boy is said to have marks on his cheek that corroborate his story.
The investigation is still ongoing, and it’s too early to say how this will affect the already strained coexistence of Okinawa citizens and the soldier stationed there. A visibly troubled Okinawa Governor Nakaima said “even though we request strict enforcement of the law, these incidents happen again. I wonder if ‘strict enforcement of the law’ is nothing more than words to them.”
The mayor of Yomitan also spoke out saying, “The drunken brutality to suddenly assault an innocent junior high school student is utterly unforgivable. The entire village is enraged by it.”
A military spokesperson responded, “we apologize to the victims and their families, and we regret that on Airman’s actions might damage our cooperative relationship.”
▼ The window that the soldier allegedly jumped from. The metal bar covering it were damaged in the incident.