Statement by U.S. Ambassador J. Thomas Schieffer to the Governor and the People of Okinawa

Naha, Okinawa
February 13, 2008

Governor Nakaima, thank you very much for agreeing to see us on such short notice. I returned to Japan from the United States just last night. And today, General Wright and I wanted to come here to meet with you personally to let you and the people of Okinawa know how seriously we take this situation. It is truly regrettable that an incident like this could have occurred, and my heart goes out to this young girl, to her family, and to all of the people affected by this. We want to assure you that we will do all we can to cooperate with you and the authorities here to ensure that justice is done in this matter.

Before coming to see you, we first met with General Zilmer to get his assessment of the situation. Let me assure you that he and members of his command feel just as bad about this situation as I do and they wanted me to express to you their regret and assurance that they are prepared to take whatever steps are necessary to see that an incident like this does not happen again.

Every American in Japan today, whether they are military or civilian, wants that little girl and her family to know that we are thinking of her and hoping that she will soon recover from this traumatic experience. Our prayers go with her.