The Ongoing Rape of Japan

When President Obama went to Hiroshima, the American media focused on what he would – or wouldn’t – say about Harry Truman’s horrendous war crime against the Japanese people. Would he apologize? Leaving aside how one apologizes for such a monstrous act – short of committing seppuku – as it turned out he just spoke in harmless generalities about the dangers of nuclear weapons, expressing a commendable albeit vague wish to rid the world of them. What the pundits mostly ignored, however, was Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s outrage at the latest murderous sex crime committed by an American soldier stationed on Okinawa; the brutal murder of 20-year-old Rina Shimabukuro by a US military contractor.

Before Obama arrived, Abe gave vent to his anger: “I am extremely upset. I have no words. I demand that the United States take strict measures to prevent something like this from happening again.” Those are stern words coming from a Japanese leader: Japanese officials almost never express strong emotions, especially when dealing with the United States. For Abe to say he “demands” something in this context is like Donald Trump talking about how Mexico is going to pay for The Wall. And when Obama did arrive, Abe brought the subject up again. As the Washington Post reported:

“Using surprisingly strong language, the Japanese prime minister said he felt ‘profound resentment’ at the ‘self-centered and absolutely despicable crime.

“’I have asked the president to carry out effective measures to prevent a recurrence of such crimes,’ Abe said, a solemn-faced Obama standing beside him.”

For the craven American puppet Abe to breach protocol in this way, the provocation would’ve had to have been enormous. And it was. The murderer, one Kenneth Franklin Gadson, is a former US Marine turned military contractor assigned to Okinawa’s Kadana Air Base. After sexually assaulting Shimabukuro, who had gone for a walk near her home, Gadson dumped her body in the woods. He admitted to the crime under questioning.

Just a few days prior, another sex crime committed on Okinawa by a US soldier was in the news: 24-year-old Justin Castellanos, a seaman stationed at US Marine Corps Camp Schwab, is accused of raping a Japanese woman at a hotel. Castellanos is pleading guilty.

These are the latest in a long line of such crimes, which keep coming without respite. Since 1972, there have been over 120 cases of rape by American military personnel on the island of Okinawa. And that’s just the cases that are reported. All in all, there have been over 4,700 crimes committed by US soldiers on the island since Okinawa reverted to nominal Japanese control.

Attention came to be focused on this outrageous situation in 1995, when three US servicemen kidnapped a 12-year-old Japanese girl, bound her with duct-tape, and gang-raped her. Massive protests followed, and yet since that time basically nothing has been done. American military personnel continue to prey on Japanese women, raping and robbing with abandon. The weak-kneed Japanese government, which allows the continued occupation of Okinawa, loves its status as an American colony too much to make too much of a fuss. After all, in exchange for playing out their role as a conquered nation, the Japanese get to export cheap well-made goods to the US tariff-free, while they refuse to drop their tariffs on American goods. Honor is one thing, but money is quite another.

As with all its overseas colonies and protectorates, the US insists that American murderers and rapists be tried in American courts and jailed or otherwise punished on American territory. That’s the privilege of the conqueror, and the letter of the US-Japan Status of Forces Agreement. And that’s why the American-generated crime wave on Okinawa continues unabated – because the perpetrators know the local authorities have no jurisdiction. Under Japanese law, they could receive up to life in prison for rape, and Japanese interrogations are designed to elicit confessions: under American military law, which has been known to go easy on crimes committed by US soldiers abroad, they have a much easier time of it.

Why are American troops still occupying Japan? World War II has been over for over 70 years!

Yes, there was the cold war, and there’s the alleged threat to Japan coming from China. Yet the Japanese could deal with China all by themselves if allowed to develop a real defensive capacity: but why should they, when the Americans insist on shouldering the financial burden, not to mention the risk of war with Beijing?

The Japanese are eating our lunch when it comes to trade, they get a free ride in that they don’t have to pay for their own military, and they only have to put up with multiple rapes and murders per year, mostly committed on Okinawa, while issuing the appropriate “protests.”

So what are the Americans getting out of this odd arrangement?

While the Japanese export their cars to the US, we export our human trash to Japan – our rapists, our murderers, our petty thieves. If those crimes weren’t being committed in Okinawa, chances are they’d be afflicting Newark, New Jersey, or Los Angeles, California. Our prisons are filled to overflowing: it’s probably cheaper to simply export our criminals under the guise of exercising US “global leadership.” And it keeps the US crime rate down!

Prime Minister Abe said “I have asked the president to carry out effective measures to prevent a recurrence of such crimes,” and yet he knows there’s just one way to do this: get US troops out of Japan, immediately and permanently. Obama won’t do that, and Abe wouldn’t like it, either: the Japanese have too good a deal going to give it up. Donald Trump says he would let the Japanese start defending themselves rather than have the burden fall on American shoulders: that may not win him many plaudits from the American foreign policy elite, but he’d win hands down in Okinawa.

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You can buy An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000), my biography of the great libertarian thinker, here.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].