okinawa girl 2

In an incredibly sad turn of events, a group of men who identify with those who oppose the presence of a U.S. base in Okinawa turned their anger towards a Japanese-American six-year-old girl late last month, allegedly shoving her to the ground and demanding to know, “Why are Americans in a place like this?

As this attack could be qualified as a hate crime, you might be wondering why you haven’t heard more about this. Well, the reason could be just as shameful as the attack itself.

On March 27, a young girl, her sister and a friend were heading to the neighborhood park. When they separated to play on their own, the six-year-old girl was surrounded by five adult men wearing masks and sunglasses. The men then allegedly pushed her to the ground and proceeded to step on her stomach and grab her by the chin. They yelled and screamed at the little girl who was clearly too scared to give a substantial and measured answer about the presence of American armed forces on Japanese soil after World War II.

okinawa girl 1Image: Flickr (Chris Davis)

Thankfully, the girl sustained no serious injuries in the assault, but the community is now, understandably, up in arms. Members of the Okinawa Education Ombudsman Association wondered if the girl was targeted by the “anti-basers” because she was half-American or whether it was a random attack since there is an international school near the park. The reality that hate speech exists in the name of peace has settled on the shaken community.

News of the incident has been slow to reach mainland Japan as two prefectural newspapers and practically all national media outlets have neglected to report on the crime. While there has been no stated reason for the lack of coverage, it is possible that the media is reluctant to report on the story as the attack would be seen a national embarrassment. The only newspaper to publish an article on the attack was the Yaeyama Nippo, an Okinawan newspaper based in Ishigaki City. That article simply stated that local and prefectural police were aware of the incident and have increased neighborhood patrols as a result.

“…Some people want to pretend the article is fake because the font is different, but the story is very real.”

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Reactions from the citizens of Okinawa and net users in Japan are united in their collective embarrassment, but there may be people who are unwilling to admit that they feel the same way as the attackers. While there are legitimate arguments to be made for both sides about the US base in Okinawa, there is absolutely no room and no excuses for these kinds of attacks perpetrated on any human being, let alone a young girl.

Messages of peace are completely lost in the presence of violence and stories like this should become national news rather than being buried. They should be held up as an example of the completely incorrect way of making a point.

Source: My Game News Flash
Top Image: Flickr (Chris Davis)