While it is common for protests against the US to erupt after any kind of crime committed by US Service personnel on Okinawa and Japan, this time there were incidents of vandalism. After the fatal crash involving a US Marine, 29 vehicles owned by US military personnel were vandalized. But not just any vandalism: these markings identified people as linked to the US Military. What does it mean, if anything?
Twenty-nine vehicles owned by U.S. personnel were vandalized with paint sometime between Sunday evening and early Monday morning, Okinawa police told Stars and Stripes. Three Y-plated cars at an apartment building in Ginowan City and 26 Y-plated cars in Chatan were vandalized.
“Y” license plates indicate the owner is covered under the status of forces agreement between U.S. and Japan and is in some way linked to the U.S. military.
Some walls at the buildings’ parking lots were also vandalized, said police, who were alerted to the issue by military police at Camp Foster.
The vandalism consisted of dark-blue graffiti spray painted onto walls and vehicles, Okinawa police said. The letter “Y” was painted on vehicles along with a “two-leaf clover” symbol. Police said they are unsure of its meaning.
Okinawa police say they are investigating the incidents.
In the past, numerous public protests have taken place after any situation involving US military personnel on the Island, as well as on the main island of Japan. Those protests demanded the removal of all US bases in Japan. Some people carrying signs that said “Military Bases on Okinawa are hotbeds of serious crimes! We demand all bases get out of our land” were seen among the hundreds of protesters in the past.
This vandalism is seems more ominous: it identifies US military personnel AND their residences.