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March 15, 2019 01:25AM
" Protestors hold placards during the rally for the women murdered by U.S. military personnel in Okinawa Cheap Thiago Silva Jersey , in a park in Naha, the capital city of Okinawa Cheap Thiago Motta Jersey , Japan, June 19 Cheap Serge Aurier Jersey , 2016. Tens of thousands of protestors took to the streets of Okinawa in Japan's southernmost Prefecture on Sunday to express their ongoing anger at the disproportionate presence of U.S. military personnel on the island and the crimes committed by them, in particular the brutal rape and murder of a local women by a base-linked worker recently. (XinhuaShen Honghui)
By Ma Zheng, Shen Honghui

NAHA, Japan, June 19 (Xinhua) -- ""Prime Minister Abe, who is the second perpetrator of the murder case? You are"", Tamaki Ai, a student of University of the Ryukyus, said during Sunday's massive rally in Naha, capital city of Japan's southernmost island prefecture of Okinawa.

Okinawan people's anger against U.S. bases and repeated crimes committed by the U.S. military personnel has gone beyond the limit with rallies and demonstrations being held on a larger scale and on a more frequent basis.

Some 65,000 protesters across Japan gathered together in a park in Naha, protesting the heinous crime of a former U.S. Marine and base worker who raped and murdered a 20-year-old woman in April.

Speaking on behalf of the Okinawan youngsters, Tamaki cried several times, begging the Japanese prime minister to take Okinawa seriously and let Okinawan people no longer live with discrimination. In her eyes, Prime Minister Abe should also be held responsible for the murder case as his inactions to remove the U.S. bases from Okinawa actually helped the increased abuses of the U.S. military.

""Today, we as Okinawans grieved the brutal murder of the innocent woman. We have been enduring the brutal treatment for over 70 years even after the reversion of Okinawa in 1972,"" said another Okinawan student, holding a banner that read ""Okinawan lives matter"".

Following the murder of the young lady, anti-U.S. sentiment soars as more than 4,000 protesters, including National Diet members, took to the streets last month to protest the overbearing U.S. presence in Okinawa and called for both local and central governments to take definitive steps to lessen their base-hosting burdens.

Okinawa is home to some 75 percent of U.S. bases in Japan, yet the tiny subtropical island accounts for less than 1 percent of the county's total land mass.

Sunday's rally, one of the biggest protest in Okinawa since three U.S. servicemen viciously raped an elementary schoolgirl in 1995, passed a resolution, urging the Japanese central government to largely downsize the number of U.S. bases in Okinawa and demanding apologies and compensations from both the Japanese and American governments to the Okinawan people, especially the families of the murdered woman.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga addressed the crowd during the gathering, saying the crime of the base worker was inhumane and infringed on women's rights.

""The anger of the Okinawan people has reached the peak and no more bases should be imposed on Okinawa and the interests of the Okinawan people should be protected,"" Onaga said, adding that as the governor of Okinawa, he strongly demanded the revision of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which stipulates how U.S. military personnel are dealt with in Japan and is widely seen to legally favor the United States.

During the G7 meeting last month, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe raised a formal protest over the tragic death to U.S. President Barack Obama, saying that he felt profound resentment for this self-centered and despicable crime. He also urged the United States to take effective measures to prevent similar incidents from happening again.

Naha resident Takashi Shimoji, who also joined Sunday's protest, told Xinhua that the United States had never introduced effective measures to eradicate their crimes and Abe's protest was a mere formality which aimed at strengthening Japan-U.S. alliance while compromising the interests of the Okinawan people.

""The Okinawa issue is an epitome of the divergence between Japan and the United States in their diplomatic and defense policies,"" said Katsushima Chihiro coming from Tokyo to attend the rally.

Chihiro stressed that all the Japanese people should pay attention to the Okinawa issue as it is not only a local problem. ""The Abe administration continues to disregard the willingness of the Okinawan people, just like his push of the controversial security bills despite the objections of the Japanese people.""

Local citizens have become increasingly irate at their base-hosting burdens and the central government's ongoing pandering to the U.S.'s requests, amid rising instances of crime, noise and pollution connected to the bases. Prior to the murder, a U.S. Navy sailor was arrested in March after raping a woman in a hotel in Naha City.

Keiko Itokazu, an Upper House member from Okinawa Prefecture, told Xinhua after the rally that the root cause of the repeated crimes is the presence of U.S. bases in Okinawa and the unfair SOFA.

""It's unbearable that with increasing protests of Okinawan people, the Abe administration is still trying to build new bases in Okinawa, sacrificing the interests of the Okinawan people once again.""


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