ROK Drop has done some research that has needed doing for some time. He also says some things that the United States should have been officially saying for decades.
The US State Department should be answering the Japanese and Korean news media with statistics like these and aggressively defending the reputations of our troops. The people in Okinawa and Korea can't really be blamed for the way they think of the US military when our people aren't broadcasting these kinds of answers to their media.
Here's the money quote "..This means that SOFA status personnel make up 4% of the Okinawan population but only committed 1.3% of the crime in 2001."
He got those numbers from the official Okinawa prefecture website. I've never yet heard those numbers mentioned in any news reports about crimes committed by marines in Okinawa, yet there they are. It's interesting that they are provided by Okinawa prefecture. Every news report I hear or read about a crime committed there gives the impression that most Okinawans view the US marines as the worst criminals in their community. I know I've heard basically those exact words from people who grew up there. And yet, Okinawa prefecture has done more for the reputations of our service members than any US news outlet or branch of the US govt. that I know of.
What does it say about the American news media that they will go less distance for the reputations of our troops than a Japanese prefecture will? What does it say about the State Department?
If I'm wrong, and if US State Department officials and military spokespeople have been aggressively waving these numbers around as they should then I owe them an apology. If, on the other hand, they've let these numbers sit there in the face of each criminal incident, they need to be fired.
Update ROK Drop posted the answer to my question and it does look like USFK said exactly the right things after the car accident in Korea. I hope releases like this are coming out regularly in response to the protests that happen there. And my apology to all military spokespeople and the state department is tentatively offered. GI Korea assures me that these releases have consistently come out of USFK and the fault for consistently ignoring them lies with the US and Korean news media.
USFK Press Release