PSPD l People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
Solidarity in South Korean Civil Movement against the U.S. Forces
- 2003.11.08 (00:00:00)
The case of the death of two schoolgirls in June 2002
South Korean society is indebted to civil organizations, active since the end of the 1980s, for their role in facilitating social change and development. And, contrary to the opinion of some scholars, the “new social movement” in South Korea demonstrates a remarkable solidarity, despite the wide range of interests it must represent.
The civil movement against the U.S. Forces in Korea (USFK) has brought about two revisions of the Status Of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between South Korea and the U.S. Despite the revisions, however, the persistency of USFK legal treachery and the intrinsically unjust nature of SOFA was yet again exposed in the recent case of the negligent homicide of two middle school girls by US servicemen in Yangju, Kyŏnggi Province. The resulting civil protest exerted a significant influence on the legal resolution of the incident, and demonstrated strong solidarity among citizens in South Korea.
This paper is specifically concerned with the civil movement against the USFK and its handling of the Yangju incident. The paper follows the civil movement up until the USFK announcement of its decision not to waive criminal jurisdiction over the incident. This paper also visits, through footnote, a crime committed in 2001 by a U.S. soldier in Okinawa, Japan. Because the fight for criminal jurisdiction is at the heart of both cases, comparison of the two help the understanding of civil movements in each respective country. It will be helpful for readers to understand the characteristics of Korean civil movements against U.S. crimes, and further the study of civil movements against U.S. armed forces across the world.
2. The Incident and its Development
On 13 June 2002, in Yangju, Kyŏnggi Province, two middle school girls walking to a friend’s birthday party were killed by a U.S. armored truck, which was participating in a field exercise called, ATT Training. About 10 tanks participated in the training of that day, and they were heading to a training area at regular intervals. A 54-ton truck in the third line hit the two girls when it turned aside to clear the way for the tank approaching from the opposite direction. The driver and the track commander, Sgt. Mark Walker and Fernando Nino from the U.S. 2nd Infantry Division, were handed over to U.S. military police for investigation. Immediately, the USFK expressed regret over the incident through a statement issued in the name of the commander of the Eighth U.S. Army, Lt. Gen Daniel R. Zanini. It also clarified the USFK’s intention to thoroughly carry out a South Korea-U.S. joint investigation. Thomas A. Hubbard, U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, also expressed his condolences over the deaths of the two girls later in the afternoon. The next day, the assistant chief of the Second U.S. Army, the assistant chief of civil affairs, and the assistant chief judicial affairs visited the mortuary and gave 1,000,000-Won consolation money to the parents.(1) This was an exceptionally quick and sympathetic response by the USFK.
Other actions taken by the USFK, however, were predictably in favor of hindering rather that helping justice. South Korean police, who arrived at the accident scene, were not permitted to do anything more than basic investigation, such as collection of evidential sources, because the USFK had already finished arranging the scene. The Korean police were not even permitted to interview the soldiers and witnesses.(2)
The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA), which is based on the Korea-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty in July 1966, defines the legal status of the U.S. Forces in Korea.(3) Under the terms of the third paragraph of Article 22 of SOFA, it is the U.S. who has the first criminal jurisdiction over the crimes that committed by U.S. servicemen while on duty. South Korea does not have a right to get involved from investigation to trial. Unlike the Status of Forces Agreement between Japan and U.S., SOFA between South Korea and U.S. provides the U.S. a conclusive right to decide whether the incident occurred while on duty or not.(4) All that the South Korean government can do is to request that the U.S. waive its jurisdiction. According to the statistics of the Justice Ministry, the National Campaign for Eradication of Crime by U.S. Troops in Korea, South Korean courts passed judgment only in 23 cases (7.3%) out of 311 crimes involving U.S. soldiers in 2000 and 26 cases (6.9%) out of 376 crimes in 2002.(5)
South Korea is able to request that the U.S. waive its jurisdiction on the crimes committed by U.S. soldiers in liberty. After the first revision of SOFA in 1991, the items that the U.S. gives “sympathetic consideration” to South Korea’s request was added. However, South Korea still did not, and still does not, have a legal right to obtain jurisdiction, because the U.S. could reject South Korea’s request.(6)
Regarding the death of the two school girls in Yangju, the Ministry of Justice filed an official request with USFK, on July 10, to give up its primary criminal jurisdiction. This was the first time the South Korean government exercised its right to request the U.S to waive jurisdiction over a crime committed by U.S. soldiers. Under the terms of Article 4 of the Korea-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, the Ministry of Justice has to file an official request with the USFK to waive primary criminal jurisdiction within 21 days after an incident. Therefore, the Ministry of Justice had to file an official request with the USFK before July 5. But because the USFK’s consignment of the warrants for the incident was unpunctual, this deadline was extended to July 11.
The reasons for the Ministry of Justice’s unprecedented decision to request U.S. waiver of jurisdiction are as follows: the South Korean prosecutor could not interview the two U.S. soldiers until July 9, the death of the two junior high school students was serious affair, the victims did not have any fault, and they were considering the feelings of the bereaved family.(8) In response to a Korean request of waiver, the U.S. must, under the terms of SOFA, reply within 28 days.
Shortly after the Ministry of Justice’s request, it was speculated that the U.S. was unlikely to waive jurisdiction because it had never previously waived jurisdiction over crimes committed by servicemen while on the duty. On the day after the Ministry of Justice’s request, Culture Daily reported that the USFK was unwilling to create a precedent where a crime committed while on duty was prosecuted in a South Korean court. The USFK’s lack of a quick response to the Culture Daily report led civic groups and citizens to actually infer this statement as true.
The bereaved families and civic groups sued the six U.S. commanders under suspicion of negligent homicide and requested to have them prevented from leaving South Korea. One of them, the 2nd division commander, who promised the bereaved families to build a memorial monument for two girls, finished his term and departed from South Korea.(9) Based on independent investigation implemented in July, the Korean prosecutor announced that they could not find negligence for criminal liability among the commanders who were sued, except for the drivers and truck commander. Although South Korean prosecutors also summoned the suspects, they reportedly refused to answer specific questions about the incident.(10) According to the Ministry of Justice, on August 7, the USFK submitted an official document stating that the USFK would not waive jurisdiction because there hadn’t been any precedent in which the USFK waived its jurisdiction over an incident committed while on duty, and furthermore, that the persons concerned had already been prosecuted under their jurisdiction. (11)
3. South Korean Civil Movement against the USFK
3.1 History of civil movements against the USFK, and SOFA
The two revisions of SOFA were the direct results of civil movements against the SOFA and the USFK.(12) The existence of U.S. forces in Korea was of course a result of Cold War doctrine. Protest against the USFK was forbidden under former authoritarian regimes and the National Security Law. A rationale was created and propagandized to justify the continued presence of USFK; the notion that the prevention of a North Korean attack was only possible through the continued existence of USFK was fixed indelibly within the psyche of a generation of South Koreans.(13) Thus, although U.S. soldiers committed a great number of crimes in the era passed, the victims and their bereaved families were compelled to accept them. Protest against the USFK was recognized as an act serving the interests of the enemy.
Today, crimes of U.S. soldiers against prostitutes around the military bases tend not to be brought to light. It is not only because the victims are unwilling to come forth, but also because the South Korean people pay little attention to them. There is deeply rooted prejudice against prostitutes serving U.S. soldiers. Calling them by the demeaning term, “Yangsaeksi [prostitution for the U.S. soldiers, (literal translation: Western hostess)],” South Korean people want to deny even their existence.(14) South Korean people did not recognize the crimes by the U.S. soldiers against prostitutes as problems for the whole of South Korean society. They believed that the USFK was only an issue for “non-nationalistic” people, or for prostitutes. Accordingly, numerous criminal cases, not to mention crimes that went unreported, were covered up without attracting anyone’s attention.
However, as anti-Americanism spread in the 1980s among the civics in the wake of the Kwangju Incident, the crimes of U.S. soldiers became a concern for South Korean citizens. At the same time, increasing momentum toward democratization brought active discussion over a revision of SOFA. SOFA was revised for first time in 25 years on February 1991. Yet, the revised version of SOFA still maintained unequal clauses. Although the clauses stating South Korea’s automatic waiver of criminal jurisdiction over U.S. soldiers was deleted and the scope of crimes over which South Korea can exercise first jurisdiction was expanded, some clauses are still effective enough to impose restrictions on South Korea’s exercise of jurisdiction.(15)
The second revision was also the result of a public outcry against crimes involving U.S. soldiers. Crimes committed by U.S. servicemen, such as the bizarre murder of Yun Gŭmi in 1992 again gave rise to much controversy over the overall revision of SOFA. Particularly, the case of Yun Gŭmi brought the crimes of the U.S. army into public debate.(16)Consequently, the first civic group that specializes in crimes involving the USFK, the National Campaign for Eradication of Crime by U.S. Troops in Korea, was established. Negotiations with the U.S. for the revision of SOFA started in 1995. However, these negotiations were suspended due to disagreements on criminal jurisdiction. The U.S. then unilaterally broke off the negotiations in 1997. As crimes involving the USFK became infamies, (crimes including murder, damage to the quality of life of residents in the vicinity of target practice areas, and unsanctioned discharge of toxic substances into the Han River), protests against the USFK rose sharply in 1999 and could not be ignored. As a result, the negotiations between South Korea and the U.S. resumed. 127 civil groups for the revision of SOFA merged in solidarity to become the People’s Action for Reform of Unjust ROK US SOFA Agreement. Monthly rallies in front of the U.S. embassy also began, and still continue to take place after 35 rallies.(17) In January 2001, through 11 negotiations, a proposal for the revision of SOFA was concluded.(18) During the process of its ratification in South Korea, civics and civil groups sharply reacted against ratification because it was a change for the worse in actuality.(19) The public debate regarding SOFA among the South Korean citizenry has directly aided the movement for democratization and development of civil society in South Korea.(20)
3.2 The Civil Movement regarding the death of the two schoolgirls
The civil movement against the USFK’s indifferent response to the death of the two girls did not immediately gain momentum. The FIFA World Cup, which South Korea was hosting at the time, was drawing much of the public’s attention away from the incident. As major media did not report the incident, many citizens were even unaware of the incident.(21) However, as noted above, it was unusual for the USFK to express regret over the incident so quickly. The public did not forget the incident. After the World Cup, South Korean citizens’ concern about the incident was grew because of movements by civic groups, including reports on Internet web sites and street demonstrations. One month later, rallies were simultaneously held in big cities throughout the country.(22)
What the civil movement required of the USFK was mainly divided into four items: waiver of jurisdiction over the incident, President Bush’s apology, prompt payment of compensation, and the revision of SOFA. The call for criminal jurisdiction over the incident came as the result of the USFK’s inability to give a convincing explanation on the cause of the incident. The public was growing suspicious, but as long as the USFK had jurisdiction, South Korean prosecutors could not even interview the soldiers responsible for the deaths. It is highly likely that the U.S. conceals the truth to avoid liability. The request for President Bush’s apology results from a precedent set by former president Bill Clinton while visiting Okinawa for a summit in 2000, when he officially apologized for an incident committed by a U.S. soldier there.(23) This incident demonstrates the inherently biased nature of SOFA between Korea and the US, with regards to such issues as the jurisdiction over crimes committed by a U.S. soldier while on the duty.(24)
However, citizens also recognize that the South Korean government is also at fault in its handling of the Yangju incident. Although the national coalition worked on the government again and again, the reaction of the government was languid. It was at the last possible moment when the Ministry of Justice unwillingly filed an official request with the U.S. for waiver of jurisdiction. The government seemed only concerned with its relationship with the United States. On July 22, the Defense Ministry spokesman doubted that the U.S. military would give up jurisdiction over the soldiers. This definitively inflamed the citizens’ discontent with the government because the government seemed on the side of the United States. The reason the Defense Ministry cited is the same reason that the USFK had raised from the beginning and that the USFK consequently raised when it announced its decision not to waive jurisdiction on August 7, 2002. To make matters worse, the Defense Ministry retracted its proposal to have an interview with the national coalition group. Two days after the announcement, the national coalition held a press conference in front of the building of the Defense Ministry and denounced the Defense Ministry by using such words as “betrayal,” “humiliating,” and “thoughtless.”(25)
Moreover, when the people heard that the Kyonggi Province office was to honor a commander of the Second U.S. Army for his achievements, in light of the upcoming departure from his post, citizens reacted sharply against it. They argued that this would show the Kyonggi government as being ignorant of the current citizen’s movement against the USFK and unpatriotic. (26)
Kim P’ant’ae, director of the People’s Action for Reform of Unjust ROK US SOFA Agreement, insisted that though the South Korean government had been pushed to request the waiver of jurisdiction to the U.S., it did not seem to have strong will to pursue a thorough investigation.(27) Mun Jŏnghyŏn, regular representative of the national coalition, also argued that one of the obstacles preventing the demise of the USFK was none other than the South Korean government and what was required was an active involvement of the South Korean government towards the resolution of the incident, as the Okinawa administration and Japanese government had done. Through the incident, the South Korean citizens learned that an active civil movement enables them to steer the government, which did little for the people’s rights by itself. (28)
The current upsurge of the protests against the USFK reminded citizens of other incidents involving the USFK. The incident of the two school girls came a week after a 52-year-old worker, Chŏn Dongrok, died following his electrocution by power lines set up by a U.S. military base near the inter-Korean border. In rallies for the two girls, there were pictures of Chŏn Dongrok and boards, which accused the USFK of his death. In the 5th national coalition rally for a full accounting of the death of the two schoolgirls and punishment of those responsible for it, a regular representative of a national coalition mentioned the incident of Chŏn Dongrok when he called for closing of the military unit responsible for the incident. Also, the unsolved homicide committed by a U.S. serviceman in March 2000 received a great deal of public attention and roused the movement for its reinvestigation, although when it happened, it was ignored because the victim was an aged prostitute for U.S. soldiers. The National Campaign for Eradication of Crime by U.S. Troops in Korea explains that the case of the schoolgirls exposed the USFK’s uncooperative and unreasonable stance on crimes committed by its soldiers.(29)
3.3 Characteristics of the movement
One of the most conspicuous characteristics of the civil movement against this incident is the strong solidarity among the civics groups, citizens, a part of the media, and some congressmen. Soon after the incident, the national coalition for a full accounting of the incident and punishment of those responsible was established to pursue more effective protest and many civil groups participated in the coalition. They strengthened the solidarity between various civil groups and citizens easily, quickly and extensively by taking full advantage of the Internet.
For instance, laborers belonging to the Democratic Labor Federation, and also participating in the rallies, released public statements about the incident on the homepages of the civic groups, making a detailed report of the specifics of the incident, the reaction of the USFK and the South Korean government, and schedules of the rallies. The civic groups vividly and quickly reported the rallies by circulating the images from the scenes on the computer networks. They provided message boards for citizens to freely discuss the incident. Furthermore, they collected signatures from the citizens on the Internet.
The increasing number of participants at the rallies over time demonstrates how effectively the civil groups strengthened the solidarity among the citizens for protest against the USFK. On July 18, the citizens established the civil special investigation team, which consists of approximately 400 members, involving civics, students and labors. It began its action with the distribution of the “wanted person’s photos” of the suspects. On July 16, a collection of 100,000 signatures for South Korean civics was achieved and 30,000,000 Won raised.(30)
Strong solidarity with young people is unique in the civil movement on the current case. We can see many young people, including junior high school students and high school students, in the rallies. It was rare that the young people participated in anti-American rallies and stepped up to microphones.(31) It is mainly because the victims were junior high school students. Looking at the disconsolate figures of the parents of the two girls, they ask themselves, “if I were killed like them…?” Although they have been taught in school that the United States is protecting and helping South Korea, they are beginning to consider the incident and the problem of the USFK as their own problem.(32) For example, the students of the Ůijŏngbu Women’s High School, who participated in rallies in front of the Second U.S. Army with 70 members of civic groups on June 20, have a strong awareness of the problems involving the USFK because they are next to a USFK base. The images of rallies where schoolgirls in uniforms tearfully calling out against the USFK were provocative for South Korean citizens. Although some schools forbade the students to participate in a rally against the USFK, 400 young people took part in the youth rallies held in the open space in front of the Ůijŏngbu base on July 17. Young people were thinking for themselves. Students flew red paper airplanes into the U.S. base with anti-American slogans written on them, such as “U.S. Troops Out of Korea,” “Give Up Jurisdiction,” and “Fucking U.S. Army.”(33) The youth groups also intended to conduct protests on the homepages of the White House, USFK and the U.S. Embassy at 11 am, 4 and 9 pm. Many students, including high school and junior high school students, also participated in the memorial services and rallies with national flags on July 31.
Lawyers and some lawmakers also increased solidarity with citizens and took action to pursue the rights of the South Korean people. Lawyers also took action with the bereaved families and civic groups. In response to the poor explanation of the incident by the USFK, a group of lawyers, the Lawyers for Democratic Society, at the request of the national coalition, made the interim report of investigation of the accident at a press conference on July 3. They pointed to seven suspicious elements in the U.S investigative report of the incident.(34) They spoke for the bereaved families who were dissatisfied with the USFK’s excuse for the death of their daughters.
On July 9, they again explained their interim report at a Joint Brief Meeting for the People organized by the national coalition and a group of congressmen, “the Communities of the Conscious Congressmen for the Country and Culture.” Also, it was the lawyers who gave legal advice to the civil movement, with regards to issues involving SOFA. The congressmen not only organized a briefing of the incident for the people with the civil groups, and issued the protest to the USFK. They also put their effort into petitioned the South Korean government. A group of legislators, consisting of 21 legislators from the two parties, the Millennium Democratic Party and the Grand National Party, delivered a parliamentary petition to the Ministry of Justice on July 9 asking the Ministry to file an official request with the U.S. Forces Korea to give up its primary criminal jurisdiction. Simultaneously, they issued a joint statement to request Bush’s apology for the first time as a group. Then, after the Ministry filed the request to the U.S., the Grand National Party called on the USFK to relinquish its jurisdiction over the two U.S. servicemen accused in the deaths of two Korean girls. The Democratic Labor Party also had a press conference in front of the National Assembly on July 18 and stated that the National Assembly has to conduct the investigation properly to look deep into the truth of the incident. Furthermore, 15 congressmen from the Hannara Party and the Democratic Party belatedly sent a letter to President Bush and asked for his apology and the USFK’s waiver of criminal jurisdiction over the incident on August 6, the previous day of the deadline for the U.S decision on waiver.(35)
3.4 Problems of the movement in South Korea
It is true that the South Korean people’s protest against the USFK regarding the death of the two schoolgirls demonstrates development of the civil movement over this issue, but there were problems in their movement. For instance, male-oriented, nationalistic symbolization of the dead schoolgirls was used to manipulate people, which is not truly in the interests or spirit of social progress. The citizens participating in the movements called the schoolgirls “our daughters,” or “sisters.” This does not seem to be unconnected with what Chŏng Yujin argues. Citing the case of Yun Gŭmi in 1992, where the activists and citizens called her “virginal daughter of our nation” instead of the disparaging name given to her during her lifetime as “a women who sells her body to the U.S. soldiers,” Chŏng Yujin points out that the male-dominated nationalistic activists reduced the issues to the simple idea that the withdrawal of the U.S. army would resolve all problems. This was accomplished by painting the victims as “virginal innocent daughters.”(36) In the process of the civil movement at this time, we can also find this kind of simplification of issues. For example, the rally participant shouted, “Pull the U.S. troops, which killed our blossomy sisters, out of South Korea.”
Secondly, in comparison to the civil movement in Japan against the USFK, it is clear that the South Korean participants use discriminatory terms such as “Yankee, go home.” “Yankee, go home” is the slogan that we can here the most in the rallies. They even sing a song, “Fucking USA”, which was made to denounce the American skater, Ono, at the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. At rallies, we can see a doll wearing Bush’s mask in military uniform, which rides on a big model of the armored truck. The models of the two girls at the foot of tank do not seem to respect their rights, and is merely designed to manipulate.
4.Conclusion: Future Task of South Korean Civil Movement against U.S. Crime
The swift establishment of the national coalition by the civic groups for protest against the incident of the two schoolgirls shows the level of development of civil society and maturity of the civil groups in South Korea. For two months, it contributed to raising the large protests against the U.S. and to heighten citizens’ awareness of the incident, including those who had had no interest in the issues of the USFK. Consequently, strong solidarity among various citizens, civic groups, congressmen, and lawyers was established to call for a waiver of jurisdiction to the USFK, particularly through continued street rallies and the quick and informative Internet. Although the U.S. did not waive jurisdiction over the incident, we can see some rewards of the civil movement, such as increased awareness of USFK issues, and the unprecedented request, by the Ministry of Justice, for the transfer of jurisdiction. Citizens learned that solidarity and movement of citizens could steer the government.
However, civil protests against the USFK have slowed down after the USFK’s announcement that it would maintain criminal jurisdiction over the incident and its way of temporization. If the movement does not continue and develop here, there is concern that it was no more than a single-round movement. This indicates that unless another incident occurs, civil action to request for a revision of SOFA will not continue. There is also a possibility that the participants of the civil movement could begin to feel resigned to it, as in Okinawa. Taking advantage of the achievement and reviewing problems of this movement, how should the South Korean citizens continue and development their activities against the crimes committed by the USFK? One of the most effective ways is strengthening an international solidarity of civil movements against them. In the countries where U.S. forces are stationed, crimes committed by U.S. soldiers are common and serious problems to resolve. As was clearly showed in the Japanese case of the rape incident, the forms of civil movement against crimes by U.S. servicemen are diversified according to countries. Actually, among the regions such as Okinawa, South Korea, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico, the international exchange of their experiences of movement against the U.S. forces has already started. During the civil movement on this incident, the representatives of the national coalition were also trying to extend their movement internationally.(37) It was obvious in this incident of schoolgirls that the U.S. was unwilling to waive the criminal jurisdiction because it was afraid of the international influence of the case in other countries, where the U.S. maintains similar unjust SOFA. Thus, international solidarity against the crimes of U.S. soldiers among the countries could be effective in altering the fundamental structure that raises the issue of U.S. crimes. Based on the achievements and learning gained from the movement in the case of schoolgirls, the South Korean civil movement against SOFA needs to develop an international solidarity as well.
1. The result of research announced that the consolation money was not officially paid from the Second U.S. Army, but paid from a president of the Korea-U.S. friendly golf club.
2. [Japanese Case] A rape incident happened in Chatan-chou, Okinawa on June 29, 2001. As a result of voluntary hearing from a U.S. soldier as a important witness, Okinawa prefectural police concluded that he was the suspect on July 1 and decided to request an arrest warrant for him in a day or two and to ask the U.S. Army for his extradition. At this time, he was placed in U.S. custody. If the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee makes an agreement, Okinawa prefectural police is able to arrest him. At the Japan-U.S. top level meeting on the next day of the incident, President Bush expressed regret over the incident and his thought that the U.S. would extradite the criminal to Japan if his suspicion become definite.
3. It was February 1967 when the treaty went into effect. Its formal name is “Agreement under Article 4 of the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Republic of Korea and the United States of America. Regarding Facilities and Areas and the States of United Armed Forces in the Republic of Korea.” Prior to SOFA, the USFK maintained the Taejŏn Agreement (Agreement between the Republic of Korea and the United States of America on the Criminal Jurisdiction, 1950) and the Maiŏ Agreement (Agreement on Economic Arrangement, 1952), both of which provided more privileges for the USFK than SOFA does.
4. Under the terms of the third paragraph of Article 17 of Japan-U.S. SOFA, Japan can make a final judgment of whether an incident occurred while on duty or not, when there is disagreement about it between two countries. (Monthly Ůijŏngbu PSPD, July, August 2002, p.13.)
5. Monthly Ůijŏngbu PSPD, July, August 2002, p.10.
6. [Japanese Case] The Japan-U.S Status of Forces Agreement was concluded based on the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty in 1960. Under the terms of Article 17, Japan is not allowed to place criminals in its custody prior to prosecution. Improvement of administration of the Status of Forces Agreement in September 1995 approved that in the case of a vicious crime, such as murder and rape, the U.S. will consider the extradition of criminals before prosecution if Japan ask for it.
7. Ohmynews, July 10, 2002.
8. Ohmynews, July 11, 2002.
9. Cyber People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (July 28, 2002)
10. The Korea Herald (July 31, 2002), Ohmynews, (July, 30, 2002)
11. [Japanese Case] One week after the incident, on July 6, 2001, the U.S. agreed to extradite the suspect to Japan before prosecution and Japan arrested him under suspicion of rape. It took four days from the time the Okinawa police had asked for an arrest warrant for him. On the next day, Okinawa prefectural police transferred the suspect to Naha district public prosecutor’s office. It was exceptionally quick sending to the prosecutor’s office reportedly because hearing from him continued during eight days. (Okinawa Times, July 7, 2001)
12. Hereinafter, regarding the history of revision of SOFA, I referred to the explanation by National Campaign for Eradication of Crime by U.S. Troops in Korea. http://www.usacrime.or.kr/frame-SOFA.htm and Monthly Ůijŏngbu PSPD, July, August 2002, pp.11-13.
13. Chŏng Yujin.
14. Further, Chŏng Yujin pointed out that another name to call them “Migukyŏja [America girl]” means that they are not recognized as “virginal” constituents of South Korean society.
15. Another unequal clauses in the revised SOFA were that if the U.S. requires it, South Korea has to transfer custody of the accused to the U.S. and that South Korea was able to jail the criminals after US’s definitive judgment.
16. According to Chŏng Yujin, it was this time when the term Migunpŏmjwai [the crimes committed by the U.S. soldiers] was formulated among South Korean people.
17. The monthly rally is presided over by the People’s Action for Reform of Unjust ROK US SOFA Agreement, Headquarters of Movement at Yonsan, Civil Solidarity against the U.S. Base, Mehyangli National Coalition Council, and the National People’s Solidarity.
18. For instance, a U.S. soldier, who was suspected of the murder of a female employee at a nightclub in It’aewŏn in February 2000, escaped to the U.S. Because his escape happened while he was in investigation without physical restraint and it was after definitive judgment when he was imprisoned, the movement to call for the extradition of a criminal before prosecution became active. The revision of SOFA in 2001 allowed the extradition of criminals at the point of indictment only in the case of serious offense, such as murder and rape.
19. In the national assembly, Kim P’ant’ae general manager of the National Action for Revision of Unequal SOFA tried to commit suicide through disembowelment.
20. [Japanese Case] It can be said that the revision of Japan-U.S. SOFA was also related to rise of civil movements. As noted above, the Japan-U.S. SOFA before improvement of its administration in 1995 did not approve the extradition of a criminal to Japan before prosecution. However, the Japanese citizens’ protest against unjust Japan-U.S. SOFA radically developed when the three U.S. soldiers raped an elementary school student in 1995. At that time, under the terms of the fifth paragraph of Article 17 of Japan-U.S. SOFA, Japan could not place the three criminals in custody. It was after prosecution when the suspect was extradited to Japan. This led to an upsurge of strong protest against the U.S. army and Japan-U.S. Security Treaty. It reached its peak when the Okinawa Citizens Indignation Meeting was held on December 21, 1995, where 85,000 citizens participated. Consequently, after some negotiations, Japan-U.S. agreed to improve its administration, though a revision of SOFA could not be realized.
21. Civil Union for Democratic Speech Movement denounced that even major media, except for Hankyoreh, did not report the incident, while they devoted all pages to the World Cup. (Ohmynews, June 27, 2002.)
22. [Japanese Case] The Japanese citizens, especially Okinawa citizens, immediately responded to the occurrence of the rape incident. During 7 days—from the occurrence of the incident to the extradition of criminal to Japan—, civil groups in Okinawa developed the protest against the U.S. army. For instance, approximately 500 participated in the indignation meeting that the Women’s Association in Central Part of Okinawa held on July 7, 2001. (Okinawa Times, July 8, 2001) The some representatives of civil groups visited the Governor of Okinawa Prefecture and requested Okinawa prefecture office to pursue the prevention of recurrence of similar incident and revision of SOFA. (Okinawa Times, July 6, 2001) The civil movement was not confined to Okinawa. Sixteen civil groups and 300 people in Kyushu sent a joint appeal for withdrawal of U.S. army from Japan to Japanese government and U.S. government. (Okinawa Times, July 6, 2001)
23. The U.S. servicemen broke into a house and raped the junior high school student in 2000. The criminal was prosecuted in the U.S. military court and sentenced to two years’ penal servitude.
24. [Japanese Case] What the civil movement on the rape incident called for were mainly (1) prompt extradition of the suspect to Japan, (2) the enforcement of discipline of U.S. soldiers and implementation of measures to protect from recurrence of a similar incident (e.g. imposition of a curfew on U.S. soldiers), (3) radical revision of SOFA, and (4) withdrawal or reduction of the U.S. army. When President Bush expressed regret over the incident on the day after the incident, some civil groups, such as the Okinawa Peace Movement Center, Unai Net Koza, and the Meeting of the Active Women who do not want to allow a base and an army, sharply reacted against it. They all pointed out that although the U.S. showed the measures to enforce discipline of U.S. soldiers before, the crimes still occur. And they all said that they want a withdrawal or reduction of the U.S. Army because the existence of the army itself is the root of all crimes. (Okinawa Times, July 2, 2002)
25. Monthly Ůijŏngbu PSPD, July, August 2002, p.15 and Cyber PSPD July 24, 2002..
26. The Kyonggi government received many emails from citizens on its homepage. Kyonggido did not have any choice other than canceling honor to the commander on the next day. Ohmynews, July 9, 2002.
27. Cyber PSPD, July 18, 2002.
28. [Japanese Case] Compared to South Korea government’s slow reaction to the death of two schoolgirls, the Japanese government immediately took steps in order to realize the prompt extradition of the suspect. Nakatani Hajime, the Japanese Director General of the Defense Agency, called the U.S. vice-Secretary of Defense to ask for early extradition of the suspect and showed his strong will to require the U.S. to enforce discipline of soldiers at the press conference. (Okinawa Times, July 5, 2001 and July 8, 2001) Nakatani and Tanaka Makiko, the Foreign Minister, respectively made their attitude clear that revision of SOFA is necessary at the press conference. Tanaka also strongly requested the U.S. for early extradition. At the Japan-U.S. foreign ministers’ conference on July 18, Tanaka started negotiation about improvement of administration of SOFA, especially the prompt extradition of criminals before prosecution. Furthermore, importantly, the Committee for Foreign affairs in the House of Representatives carried a resolution about a revision of SOFA on July 10, 2001, only 11 days after the occurrence of the incident. (Okinawa Times, July 11, 2001) On the other hand, Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro and the Justice Minister showed their negative attitude toward a revision of SOFA. (Okinawa Times, July 7, 2001) Also, after the criminal was extradited to Japan, even the officials, who had urged a revision of SOFA at the beginning, turned to negative attitude to it.
29. www.usacrime.or.kr In spite of the resources of witnesses and DNA analysis, the suspect of this homicide was not detained by police due to the USFK’s noncooperation.
30. [Japanese Case] It has to be said that solidarity among citizens in the civil movement against this rape incident at Okinawa was not radical, compared to the civil movement against the rape incident on the elementary school student in 1995. We cannot simply argue that it is because the victim of the incident in 2001 was an adult female. Unlike the South Korean civil movement on the death of schoolgirls, which developed strong and extensive solidarity by creating the unified national committee, Japanese civil groups and citizens were not able to establish such a coalition. The weakness of solidarity is obvious if we see the practically nought action of citizens against the rape incident except for in Okinawa. It is partly because Japanese civic groups have not established effective civil mass medium yet, unlike South Korean groups. More importantly, the reality that the crimes committed by U.S. soldiers frequently occurred still after active movement in 1995 make the Japanese citizens feel resigned to them. However, as a coleader of “Okinawa Peace Citizen Liaison Meeting” said, such a resigned feeling and an accepting developmental policy were causes of the incident. Solidarity among Japanese citizens, including the Okinawan people, is necessary for eradication of crimes and a just resolution of the incidents. (Okinawa Times, July 8, 2001)
31. Ohmynews, July 18, 2002.
32. See Interview with a high school student who participated in the rallies. (Cyber PSPD, August 1, 2002)
33. Ohmynews, July 18, 2002.
34. 1. Although the USFK reported about participation of South Korean policemen in the investigation, they looked as if they did not want to participate the investigation and to make an additional investigation. 2. There is a high possibility that the driver found the two student girls 30m ahead because the road was straight, that they were respectively in showy blue and red Tshirts, and that it was beautiful day. In the statement the USFK handed to the Ůijŏngbu police, there is driver’s testimony that when he heard the commander’s warning, he saw the girl in red T-shirt right in front. 3. Our investigation could not find evidence to demonstrate that the truck commander could not warn the driver of the pedestrians. 4. Although the USFK reported that the driver could not hear the truck commander’s warnings due to confusion of radio communication between the tanks and the corps, he did not take charge of radio communication with other tanks and between the corps at the time. 5. If the USFK’s report that the armored truck covered 8-16 km in an hour just before the accident, it could have stopped in less than 1m and the damage to the girls must have been small. 6. Although the driver stopped the tank 1m after the accident site before the tank approaching from the opposite direction went past by it, we can see the trace of the tank that shifted toward the roadside at the 15m after the accident site. Therefore, the possibility that the tank made way for the approaching car is not denied. 7. Although the USFK reported that the U.S. soldiers in the tanks running in front of the tanks witnessed the accident scene, we cannot understand the details that they went behind the accident tank.
35. [Japanese Case] One of the most conspicuous characteristics of Okinawa’s civil movement against the rape incident is the prompt, radical, strong activity of regional administrations. We cannot see these characteristics in the South Korean movement against the death of the schoolgirls. The city assembly of Chatan-chou, where the incident occurred, city assembly members, issued a strong protest note on July 3 and its mayor visited the Okinawa administration office and asked for its positive approach to the government on July 6. Furthermore, Chatan-chou assembly independent attempt to set up security measures by visiting the incident scene, continuously holding the Safety Meeting, and establishing the Anti-crime Liaison Meeting with police and companies in Chatan-chou. Not only Chatan-chou, but more than 10 regional administrations unanimously approved issuing protest notes at the respective assembly and sent it to the U.S. Consulate General in Okinawa, Defense Facility Department, and Foreign Ministry Okinawa Office. [Ginowan city, (July 6 and 10), Mihama-chou (July 6), Okinawa city (July 6), Nago city (July 6), Urasoe city (July 7), Chubu city-chou-village coalition (July 9), Kadena chou, Ishigaki city (July 13), Katsuren-chou (July 18), Hirara city (July 18)] Some of them announced that they were considering “off limits” for the U.S. soldiers into the restaurants and communal facilities as self-defense measures. Okinawa Prefectural assembly and Iwamine Keiichi Governor also radically and subjectively protested against the incident. They not only conveyed the Okinawa citizens’ fury to the government, but also made practical requests to the government and the U.S. Army, such as a prompt extradition of the suspect, a revision of SOFA and enforcement of discipline of U.S. soldiers. Also, some Okinawa headquarters of political parties also issued protest note to Foreign Ministry Okinawa Office and Naha Defense Facility Department— Okinawa Social Masses Party (July 5), Komeito (July 5), Communist Party (July 12).
36. Chŏng Yujin.
37. A representative of the national coalition for the incident of schoolgirls announced that rallies in the beginning of August were going to be developed by international action with civil groups in 20 countries taking part.
Chŏng, Yujin. “Crimes committed by the U.S. Soldiers and Women. [Migunpŏmjaeiwa yŏsŏng]”
Cyber People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy, http://peoplepower21.org
The Headquarter of Action for Withdrawal of USFK [Chuhanmigunchŏlsuundongponbu],
Internet Hankyoreh, http://www.hani.co.kr
Jŏng, Uksik et al. Make South Korea without the U.S. Forces. Peace Network, 2000.
The Korea Herald, http://koreaherald.com
The Korea Times, http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/times.htm
Monthly Ůijŏngbu PSPD, July, August 2002.
National Campaign for Eradication of Crime by U.S. Troops in Korea. http://www.usacrime.or.kr
Okinawa Times, http://www.okinawatimes.co.jp/index.html
Pan-Korean Solidarity Network for the accident of the U.S. Army over the two junior high school students.
[Migunjangkapcha yŏjyungsaeng ko Sin Hyosun, Sim Misŏn salinsakŏn pŏmgungmintaecaekwi] http://www.antimigun.org/
People’s Action for Reform of Unjust ROK US SOFA Agreement, http://sofa.jinbo.net/
(August 22, 2002)