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Osaka police warn 2 officers who insulted anti-base protesters in Okinawa

OSAKA -- Prefectural police here warned two riot squad officers on Oct. 21 for verbally abusing anti-U.S. base protesters in Okinawa Prefecture, saying their remarks were inappropriate.

The two male officers -- a 29-year-old sergeant and a 26-year-old senior police officer -- branded protesters at a helipad construction site at the U.S. forces' Northern Training Area in Okinawa as "dojin," a derogatory term for aborigines, and "Shinajin," likewise a derogatory term for Chinese. They were dispatched there to maintain security.

"Their remarks seriously undermined confidence in police and caused enormous repercussions across society," a police representative said. It is the first time for prefectural police officers to have been reprimanded over inappropriate statements alone, according to the representative.

Specifically, the 29-year-old sergeant was disciplined for telling protesters at the helipad construction site on Oct. 18, "What do you think you are grabbing? You idiots. Aborigines," while the 26-year-old officer is accused of saying, "Shut up, hey, Shinajin."

Both officers were quoted as saying they weren't aware of the discriminatory nature of their remarks and apologized.

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