- Published: 28 June 2016
By ILPS - East Asia & Oceania
The International League of Peoples' Struggle vehemently condemns the rape and murder of Rina Shimabukuro in Okinawa by a former US Marine. This brutal crime underlines the urgency of our anti-imperialist struggle as we join the Japanese people in their fight to remove all the US bases in their country and anywhere else in the world.
The imperialist interest of the US and the ambition of Japan to revive its militarist past cannot come at the expense of the women who suffered at the hands of the US troops who rape and murder with impunity.These crimes bear the trademark of an imperialist reinforced patriarchal culture that is founded on exploitation and oppression. It is a culture that is a threat first and foremost to the safety, life and dignity of women.It warrants a mention as well that the US bases in Japan are not only detrimental to women but to all the people in Asia.
The US is desperate to maintain its sole superpower status in the region and in the world. That much is evident in the way it is ratcheting up the tension between itself and its perceived enemies such as China and North Korea. With its military bases strategically placed in different parts of Asia, the US is sending a signal to the region and to the rest of the world that it would not hesitate to start a military confrontation should its dominance be threatened.
The moribund economy of the US, which is increasingly dependent on war, necessitates a conflict to tighten its political, military and economic dominance over the region.Thus, the rise of the Japanese people in tens of thousands to demand the ouster of US bases is both a cry for justice for the women victims of rape and abuse, and a call for the end of imperialist design and aggression.Their courage is laudable. The militancy of their response to this latest crime involving the US base is testament to the depth of their anti-imperialist sentiments and of their preparedness to arouse,organize and mobilize the broadest number of people to achieve justice for the victim.
In this context, the perpetrator should be brought to justice; and the US bases should be removed immediately. The people of Japan want safety and it is as clear as day that they find the war culture of the US abhorrent.
The way however that the US and Japanese governments undermine the people’s sentiments and demands is appalling beyond words.How the public relation machines of both governments are spinning damage control measures is a mockery of the people’s movement that is intent to see the bases out. US President Barack Obama extended his sympathy while PM Shinzo Abe expressed his outrage over the rape and murder of Rina Shimabukuro, the latest of the victims, as if these would convince the people of their goodwill.
The people understand that for as long as the US is bent on utilizing Japan as its primary base in light of its pivot to Asia policy,crimes like this would not dissipate into thin air. History has shown us that rape of women has always been embedded in war culture as a tool of the aggressors against their targets.
The tragic fate of Ms. Shimabukuro at the hands of Kenneth Franklin, a US civilian worker who works at the US Kadena Air Base and a former US Marine, is a painful reminder of that, but it also strengthens our resolve to fight and oppose imperialism.
In memory of the victims like Ms. Shimabukuro, we need to ensure that will be no more rape, murder and other forms of abuse as consequent of the existence of US military bases. In Okinawa alone, there had been 129 documented rape cases by US servicemen and US civilian workers since 1972 to 2014. Just two months ago, a Japanese woman visiting Okinawa was also raped by a US sailor. In 2009, a Filipina migrant worker was raped and filed a case against her perpetrator in Okinawa. The case was dismissed exposing the degree of protection US troops receive and the leniency of the Philippine government to pursue justice for its nationals.
The same was true with the widely covered Philippine rape cases of ‘Nicole’, and more recently, of Jennifer Laude who was brutally killed by another US soldier. These are not all. There are countless others who are nameless victims of sex-related crimes committed by US troops.
Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga put it acutely in his denouncements of the bases that his people are not going to put up any further with the presence of US military. For the safety of his people, they should leave. The same call should be echoed in all parts of the world to send a strong message to the US that the people’s lives and nations’ sovereignty are not sacrificial lambs at the altar of imperialism.
We in International League of Peoples' Struggle raise our fist alongside the Japanese people especially the Japanese women in demanding for justice for all the victims of sexual violence.We raise our fist alongside the Japanese people and all the peace-loving people for the ouster of US bases not only in Japan but all over the world.
Onward with our fight against US imperialism and militarization of Japan.