If there was any question as to whether President Obama would be treated like an emperor during his visit to Japan, the answer is absolutely not.
No sooner had Air Force One touched down than the president received a tongue lashing by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
CBS News even titled the coverage of the incident “Japan’s Prime Minister Slams Obama For Okinawa Scandal,” a reference to murder of a Japanese woman at the hands of a Marine veteran who had been working at a U.S. military base in Okinawa.
— Mark Albert (@malbertnews) May 25, 2016
Prime Minister Abe told Obama and reporters, “I, too, feel profound resentment when thinking of [the] fear and real disappointment of this victim. I am just speechless.” Abe called it a “self-centered and absolutely despicable crime.”
“The entire Japan was deeply shocked … such feelings of the Japanese people should be taken to heart,” Abe told Obama and added measures must be taken to prevent recurrence of such crimes.
Abe concluded the Okinawan people now have “strong sense of uneasiness about their security” as a result of the latest crime.
— RT America (@RT_America) May 23, 2016
Appearing visibly shaken by the strong talk directed towards him, Obama called the crime appalling and said, “I think it’s important to point out the SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) does not in any way prevent the full prosecution and the need for justice under the Japanese legal system,” and promised to fully cooperate with the Japanese authorities to make sure the accused criminal is prosecuted.
The U.S. military presence in Japan has long since been a source of resentment by the Japanese towards the Americans, dating all the way back to World War II when the U.S. established permanent bases in post-war Japan. Over the years, thousands of crimes, often perpetrated by U.S. military personnel against Japanese women and girls, have aggravated the already tenuous presence the U.S. maintained.