|08TOKYO389||2008-02-13 12:54:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Embassy Tokyo|
1. (C) Summary: The Ambassador, accompanied by the USFJ
Commander, met with Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura on
February 13 to express regret over the alleged February 10
sexual assault of a Japanese school girl by a Marine in
Okinawa. The Ambassador said that the U.S. government and
U.S. Forces will cooperate fully in the investigation and
will take immediate steps to strengthen training programs
relating to sexual assault. The Foreign Minister expressed
appreciation for the Ambassador's decision to travel to
Okinawa to personally convey U.S. concern over the incident
to the Governor and Okinawan people. Koumura welcomed USFJ
plans to review training procedures and urged a sustained
effort. In order to regain public trust, Koumura said that
the most urgent task is to convince the Japanese public that
steps are being taken to avoid similar incidents in the
future. End Summary.
2. (C) The Ambassador, accompanied by USFJ Commander Lt. Gen.
Wright, met with Foreign Minister Masahiko Koumura on
February 13 to discuss the alleged February 10 sexual assault
by a U.S. Marine Staff Sergeant on a Japanese junior high
school girl. The Ambassador said that any parent in the
United States or Japan would be deeply touched by the
suffering the victim and her family must be going through.
The Ambassador added that he and Gen. Wright were calling on
the Foreign Minister not in an ordinary capacity, but to show
how serious the United States government takes the
allegations. This is not a military-related issue, he
continued, but rather an issue of basic humanity.
3. (C) The Ambassador noted that he called together his
senior staff and spoke with the USFJ leadership immediately
upon his return to Tokyo late on February 12. In order to
underline the seriousness of U.S. concerns, the Ambassador
said he and Lt. Gen. Wright decided to fly to Okinawa the
next morning. After receiving an update on the incident, the
Ambassador, Lt. Gen. Wright, USMC III MEF Commander Lt. Gen.
Zilmer, and Consul General Maher met the Okinawan Governor to
convey the U.S. commitment to seeing that justice is served
in the case. The Ambassador added that he asked the Governor
to convey a personal letter to the victim's family expressing
his concern over their welfare.
4. (C) Lt. Gen. Wright explained that not only the Marine
Corps, but all four service components in Japan have been
instructed to review their education programs on sexual
assault and harassment in order to improve their
effectiveness. While the Department of Defense mandates such
programs worldwide, Lt. Gen. Wright said that USFJ is looking
especially to strengthen training tailored to Japan's culture
and society. Over the next week, working groups composed of
TOKYO 00000389 002 OF 002
senior officers and enlisted members will be established at
bases around Japan to enhance the effectiveness of these
programs. Lt. Gen. Wright said that his overriding direction
is that anyone who has the honor to serve in Japan must hold
themselves to the highest moral and ethical standards.
Foreign Minister: Sustained Effort Required
5. (C) The Foreign Minister expressed his deep appreciation
for the Ambassador and USFJ Commander's decision to convey
U.S. regrets directly to the people of Okinawa, and to report
on U.S. efforts to prevent future incidents. Cases like this
tarnish the image of USFJ among the Okinawan and Japanese
people, he added. To avoid any lasting negative impact on
the U.S.-Japan Alliance, the U.S. side needs to demonstrate
that it is taking measures that will minimize the chance that
such incidents will occur in the future. While training
programs are something for the U.S. to develop internally,
Koumura said Japan is prepared to offer any assistance U.S.
Forces may require. Koumura added that the commitment
demonstrated by the Ambassador and USFJ Commander must be
sustained well beyond their tenure, as Japan seeks to
maintain U.S. bases for many years to come.
6. (C) The Ambassador closed the meeting by offering his
personal assistance to resolve any difficulties encountered
during the criminal investigation. While the immediate focus
will be to ensure that the investigation is completed and
justice served, the Ambassador said that the entire U.S.
government will do everything it can to convince the Japanese
public of its commitment to avoid a repeat of this sort of