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Hundreds protest US base construction in Japan, year after woman killed by US marine

Hundreds of people took to the streets of Tokyo to pay tribute to the memory of a young Japanese woman killed by a US marine a year ago and to protest the relocation of the US base in Okinawa. A separate rally was held in Okinawa prefecture.

The demonstrators in Tokyo marched through the streets holding banners including ones reading, “No base in Okinawa!” The father of the murdered woman also issued a message calling for the removal of the US military bases from the island prefecture, local media report.

“Those incidents occur because Okinawa hosts US military bases. I want the bases to be removed without further delay, which is the wish of many Okinawa residents as well,” the man said in his statement.

“I have nothing to say to the defendant. We, the bereaved family, can never forgive him. We tolerate or trust no excuses from him,” he added. At the same time, he expressed his gratitude to all those people who expressed their support and sympathy to his family.

“Our sorrow for losing our daughter will never disappear, but our hearts will always be with her and we will continue to pray for the repose of her soul,” he said.

On April 28, 2016, the 20-year-old woman, Rina Shimabukuro, was raped and murdered by a 32-year-old civil contractor and former US Marine Kenneth Franklin Gadson, who goes by his Japanese wife’s family name of Shinzato. He admitted that he had strangled and stabbed his victim.

The incident provoked a wave of outrage in Japan. In June 2016, at least 50,000 people protested against heavy US military presence in Okinawa following the murder. Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga and some officials from opposition parties also took part in the rally at the time.

Facing public outcry, the US military has introduced curfews, movement restrictions and an alcohol ban off base, lifted 11 days after it was imposed.

In the meantime, another rally was held in the Henoko district of the city of Nago located in the Okinawa prefecture. Some 3,000 people took part in that demonstration, according to the local media.

The protesters, who came to express their discontent with the relocation of the US Futenma air base to the Henoko district, also began their rally with a minute of silence in the memory of the murdered woman.

The protesters gathered in front of Camp Schwab, the US military base located in Henoko. The demonstration was attended by the Nago city mayor.

In the meantime, the construction of the new US military base in Henoko took another step forward despite strong opposition from local residents. On April 25, cranes started dropping nets containing crushed rock along the shore north of Camp Schwab.

The rocks will likely serve as the foundation of a seawall built along the outer perimeter of the planned runway site, according to The Asahi Shimbun newspaper. Full-fledged landfill work inside the sea walls is set to take place in the first half of next year.

Katsuhiro Yoshida, a senior Okinawa prefectural official, who particularly deals with issues concerning the US bases in the area, said that the move “ignored the local will” and is “authoritarian,” adding that the local residents simply cannot accept it.

Okinawa hosts about 75 percent of all US military installations in Japan, and is an important geopolitical outpost for Washington allowing to project power in the region that neighbors China and Southeast Asia.


U.S. murder suspect didn’t fear rape charge in Japan

Kenneth Franklin Shinzato is transferred to the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office from a police station in Uruma, Okinawa Prefecture in May.

An American charged with raping and murdering an Okinawa woman blamed the victim and thought he would get away with the attack because of Japan’s culture of shame, according to a report.

The suspect, Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, “didn’t fear being caught because of Japan’s low rate of reporting sexual assaults … due to cultural and social stigma,” according to a Stars and Stripes article published on Feb. 14.

The U.S. military newspaper quoted lawyers for Shinzato, 33, a former U.S. Marine who was a civilian worker at the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture.

Okinawa prefectural police initially arrested Shinzato in May last year on suspicion of abandoning the body of the 20-year-old woman who resided in Uruma in the prefecture. He was later arrested and indicted on charges of rape and murder.

“I intended to hit her with the stick and make her lose consciousness, then put her in the suitcase, take her to a hotel and then rape her,” the defense team quoted Shinzato as saying in the article.

Police suspect he ambushed the woman while she was walking for exercise in Uruma on the night of April 28. They believe Shinzato and the woman had never met before.

One of the lawyers told Stars and Stripes that the suspect believes “it was her fault for having been there at the time.”

The lawyer told The Asahi Shimbun on Feb. 15, “My client is not expressing any remorse over the incident.”

The defense team plans to have the suspect undergo a psychiatric assessment before his trial starts around June.

According to the lawyer, a transcript of the defense team’s interview with Shinzato was released to Stars and Stripes because he wanted to tell his story only to fellow Americans.

The Northern Training Area is situated in a section that is very rich in nature that truly symbolizes the Yanbaru forest

As a pristine subtropical jungle with endemic species of flora and fauna, Yanbaru in Okinawa Prefecture would seem to have everything going for it to gain World Natural Heritage status.

Except for the proximity of the U.S. military’s anti-guerrilla warfare training.

That sums up the dilemma facing the government as it strives to win listing for the forest in 2018.

As part of those efforts, the government designated the vast area of dark green chinquapin and other evergreen, broad-leaved trees on the northern tip of Okinawa’s main island as a national park in September.

But how to reconcile the jungle warfare exercises at the U.S. Marine Corps’ Northern Training Area with visitors tramping through the forest?

The U.S. military’s imprint is unmistakable. In places, areas are gauged out of the thick forest floor to serve as helipads for use by tilt-rotor Ospreys and other U.S. military helicopters. Each helipad has a diameter of 75 meters.

At ground level, these brown “holes” are only noticeable from up close. But from the air, they are an eyesore.

Six landing pads are at the foot of 503-meter-high Mount Yonahadake and Mount Iyudake, a 446-meter peak to the southwest, near the central part of the planned World Natural Heritage site. Two of them were completed in 2014.

Four others were finished in December after work began in summer in preparation for more intensive U.S. military drills at those sites.

Of particular concern is the Okinawa woodpecker. Many of the birds are believed to roost in the Northern Training Area.



Kuniharu Miyagi, professor emeritus of animal ecology at Okinawa International University, is concerned about the repercussions of helipad construction on local plants and animals.

“The Northern Training Area is situated in a section that is very rich in nature that truly symbolizes the Yanbaru forest,” Miyagi, who also chairs the Okinawa prefectural board of environmental assessment, said before the completion of the helipads. “The construction work itself could have a severe impact on the Okinawa woodpecker and other local creatures.”

He also frets about non-native species gaining a foothold in the forest if they hitch a ride with U.S. military personnel flying in for drills.

A survey by the board of the two helipads in 2015 confirmed the existence of varieties named on the Environment Ministry’s list of invasive alien species, including the creeping daisy, which is native to Central America.

When the government applies, it must exclude the Northern Training Area from the nominated property because it has no jurisdiction over U.S. military installations.

A 5,217-hectare portion of the Yanbaru forest is covered in the government’s nomination. The training area occupies about 3,500 hectares next to it. Until December, when the U.S. military returned some of the land to Japan, the training area was twice as big.

Exclusion of the U.S. training area is likely to prove to be a huge obstacle in Japan’s endeavor.

“Compared with Japan’s past bids, it will be extremely difficult,” said Masahito Yoshida, a professor of World Heritage studies at University of Tsukuba in Ibaraki Prefecture.

Yoshida helped evaluate candidate sites in other countries as a former member of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an advisory body that makes recommendations to the World Heritage Committee based on its on-site surveys.

One of the crucial points in evaluating whether a candidate site is worthy of World Natural Heritage recognition is the “integrity” of the nominated area.

“The IUCN may point out that the Northern Training Area should be included from a viewpoint of integrity,” he said. “In addition, the IUCN may ask the government how it intends to protect species living in the training area.”

In the course of past World Natural Heritage registrations, the government had to enlarge the scope of a national park or set up a buffer zone outside the nominated area following the IUCN evaluations.

Akimichi Matsunaga, assistant director for the World Natural Heritage of the Environment Ministry’s Environment Bureau of Natural Conservation, stressed that the government has an enviable track record of trying to conserve indigenous species in Yanbaru.

This was a reference to the government’s joint effort with U.S. forces to eradicate the mongoose, which is on the list of invasive alien species, for more than 10 years.

Mongooses were first brought to Okinawa in 1910 to prey on “habu” poisonous snakes and rats.

“The training area is not completely separated from the nominated zone,” Matsunaga said. “The government’s efforts may not be sufficient, but we would like to explain to the IUCN that we have managed the forest in an integrated manner with the training area as an adjacent zone.”

Still, conservationist Masayuki Gonda is skeptical about the government’s commitment, saying it has yet to do all that it can to preserve the forest and its inhabitants. He heads the World Wildlife Fund’s efforts to preserve the natural environment of the Nansei island chain off Kagoshima and Okinawa prefectures.


“Not even a buffer zone exists between the area that should come under strict conservation and the training area used by the U.S. military,” he said. “The wholeness of the local ecosystem is in tatters, making it impossible to conserve and manage it.”

U.S. Military Disgrace: 1,200 Hero Hounds Slaughtered After Serving In Combat Zones Because They’re ‘Deemed Too Dangerous’

More than 1,200 military dogs that have protected U.S. troops in Afghanistan and other Middle Eastern countries have been killed by the U.S. government.

The hero hounds were euthanized after they were retired from service because they were deemed “too dangerous” for civilian adoption or jobs with law enforcement, according to U.S. Air Force reports given to Congress.

Army Specialist Luke Andrukitis is a military dog handler who has benefitted from this legislation. Andrukitis found his bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois that not only saved his life but also the lives of many others in Afghanistan during Andrukitis’ nine-month deployment in 2013.

He was so upset by the euthanasia that he was moved to save the life of the dog that saved his own life. “(The euthanasia) is absolutely horrible!” he said. “They served their country just like we did.”

The military maintains a force of about 2,500 dogs worldwide, but 1,000 of them are stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. Most of them are declared unsuitable for adoption because of their “repeated unprovoked aggressive action”.

Okinawa base worker to admit rape, but not intentional murder

A former U.S. base worker will admit to a charge of rape leading to the death of a Japanese woman last year, a new development in the case that rocked the tiny island prefecture and led to a surge in anti-American sentiment.

Kenneth Franklin Gadson, a former Marine who worked as a civilian at a Kadena Air Base cable and internet company, said through his attorneys that he killed Rina Shimabukuro, 20, while attempting to rape her, according to Naha District Court documents filed Friday.

“We do not dispute the charge of rape resulting in death,” the documents said, adding that Gadson admits to striking Shimabukuro on the head from behind while attempting to rape her. “As a result, the victim died … The defendant had no murderous intent, therefore we dispute the charge of murder.”

Gadson’s first pretrial conference is scheduled for March 10. The trial is expected to begin sometime around June.

The admission’s timing surprised some legal scholars, since prosecutors haven’t yet presented evidence in court. It was most likely an attempt at a lesser sentence by showing remorse, which is considered very important in the Japanese justice system.

“Generally speaking, if you do not admit anything while there is obvious evidence, the attitude is seen as atrocious, with no remorse; thereby, the sentence tends to be longer,” said Tetsumi Takara, a law professor at the University of the Ryukyus.

Takara said the death penalty cannot be discounted in this case, though it is rarely handed down in cases involving a single death.

“There is a possibility that he chose this route for a lesser sentence by giving a good impression to [the civilian] judges (similar to an American jury),” Takara said. “Having said that, it is still strange to admit the charge before trial.”

Gadson was charged with murder and rape resulting in death by Japanese prosecutors two months after Shimabukuro disappeared on April 28. He was also charged with the illegal disposal of a body.

Following interrogation, he took police to the wooded area where her remains were found. He confessed to the crime, police said, but his lawyers argued he was questioned while under the influence of sleeping pills after a suicide attempt.

The ‘democratic’ nation

These videos show us who american military forces and servants of their government really are. They are the servants of evil forces who’s only purpose is to bring pain and suffer, to take all that their lands give, kill everybody and go to another place just like virus or desease.

Sorry, you served well, but the country doesn’t need you anymore…

Last Friday 2 Okinawan local young men heard shots near the US military base. They have come close to the US base walls and saw US marines shooting dogs. There were about a hundred of them, all barking and screaming. These 2 guys reported about this to local mass media.

The reporters of this media found out that in US army dogs have limited service time. As for US Forces Japan dogs after years of service for human are collected from all bases to a special place in the centre of Okinawa Island (Central training area). As soon as this facility gets filled all dogs are to be ‘cleared’. So those 2 guys saw a procedure of dogs execution by US marines.

That’s what all friends of US get. A bullet in their backs…

US Military Rapes & Murders Okinawans

Okinawa Residents Rally To Protest Crimes By U.S. Military Personnel

Hello reader!

My name is Kentaro Takaoka. I was born in Japan in 1988 and when I was 8 my family moved to London. We moved because my parents couldn’t handle it anymore…Handle the slavish status of Japanese people after WWII. I know that my nation did bad thing during that time, but we are already third generation after those people and we don’t deserve it…We don’t deserve that our children are raped and killed. Yes, you know it…You all know it but remain silent. After WWII Japan has been occupied by US military forces. These forces do everything they want on our territory and no law can stop them. And our government remains silent too. But I won’t…So this is what my site about.

The terrible and horrifyingly shocking things US militaries have done to Japanese people…

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