Re "Another Okinawa Outrage," by Sheila K. Johnson, Commentary, July 8: Last year, Americans on Okinawa, both military and civilian, were involved in 53 of the 6,226 crimes committed. This total includes traffic accidents and speeding violations. Americans, approximately 4% of the population on Okinawa, account for less than 1% of crimes. To put this into perspective, in San Diego, 36 crimes are committed per 1,000 people, while on Okinawa, one crime is committed per 1,000 U.S. citizens.
Johnson is wrong in saying that U.S. military leaders delayed handing over the suspect in the alleged rape incident. The current Status of Forces Agreement requires the U.S. military to turn over to Japanese authorities any suspect who has been indicted. In this case, the suspect was turned over to authorities prior to his indictment. The U.S. military leaders' actions on Okinawa simply reflect their duty to protect all Americans' individual rights within U.S. law and international agreements.
Lt. Gen. Earl B. Hailston's Marines have maintained an exceptional record of discipline and conduct and have the lowest misconduct rate among all comparable Marine Corps populations. Americans can be proud of the service and sacrifices being performed on their behalf by all uniformed and civilian personnel who serve on Okinawa. We are now, and will continue to be, good neighbors and custodians for peace in the region, just as we are the world over.
Gen. James L. Jones
Commandant, Marine Corps