Thousands of people held protests over the weekend in front of a U.S. Marine base in Okinawa, Japan in response to the rape and killing of 20-year-old Rina Shimabukuro by an American former sailor.
Roughly 2,000 people attended the protest organized by dozens of women’s rights groups based on the island, where more than two-thirds of U.S. bases in Japan are located. They rallied outside the front gates of the Marine Corps headquarters at Camp Foster, holding signs that read, “Never forgive Marine’s rape,” “Killer go home,” and “Withdraw all U.S. forces from Okinawa.”
Suzuyo Takazato, a representative of Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence, told Stars and Stripes that the rally was organized to mourn Shimabukuro and to renew the long-held demand to remove all military bases from Okinawa. The protest comes just ahead of President Barack Obama’s scheduled trip to Japan to attend a summit and visit Hiroshima on Friday.
“This incident is a prime example of the violent nature of the military,” Takazato said. “This incident reminds us that it can happen to any women on Okinawa, us, our daughters, or granddaughters. Reducing the presence of the military is not good enough. All the military bases must go.”