Records obtained by Okinawa Times from USMC Headquarters reveal that, between 2018 and 2020, 58 US Marines were kicked out of the military by courts-martials held on Okinawa. The majority of the Marines were found guilty of sexual offenses targeting children or adults, or violations involving narcotics.
Of the dismissed Marines, 23 were convicted of sexual offenses targeting children, such as sexual abuse or possession of child pornography, and nine of the Marines were convicted of sexual assaults on adults. As well as receiving dishonorable discharges, they received sentences in military prisons ranging from several months to several years. Additionally, 12 Marines were found guilty of distribution of narcotics.
During the 2018 – 2020 period, the most severe punishment was handed out to a Marine sergeant found guilty of multiple offenses including attempted rape of a child; in January 2019, he received a 12-year prison sentence reduced to 8 years due to a pretrial agreement.
Meanwhile, during the same period, 22 Marines were found guilty of offenses such as drink-driving and use of stolen credit cards – but they were allowed to remain in the military, receiving lesser punishments, for example demotions or fines.
In reality, the number of Okinawa Marines dismissed from the military between 2018 and 2020 is likely higher than the 58 detailed in these records. The military operates a complex justice system with numerous ways to judge and punish suspects. These 58 Marines were punished by the two highest levels of court martial - special and general courts martial - but they did not include other data, such as so-called non-judicial punishments, via which Marines can also be removed from the military.
Asked for the actual total number of Okinawa Marines removed from military service during this period, United States Forces Japan declined to comment.