A formal apology by U.S. Ambassador Walter Mondale has done little to placate the people of Okinawa after the rape of a 12-year-old girl, allegedly by a group of U.S. servicemen, exactly three weeks ago. Today, nearly a thousand people gathered in a park on the Japanese island to demand that American military personnel stationed there leave for good. "The rape has crystallized Okinawans' sense of grievance against the powers in Washington and Tokyo," reports Tokyo bureau chief Edward Desmond. The timing couldn't be worse, since the U.S. and Japan are to sign a five-year agreement Wednesday covering Japan's financial contribution to the support of U.S. forces there. But Desmond thinks the status quo will hold: "Hardly anyone here or in the U.S. believes the furor will lead to the closing of the bases. They are still important for Japan's defense, especially given tensions with North Korea and China, as well as for the credibility of the U.S. security commitment to Asia."