Japanese Officials Angry After 2 U.S. Sailors Arrested in Okinawa Rape Case
Japanese officials expressed outrage after two U.S. sailors were arrested over accusations that they raped a woman on the island of Okinawa, where the American military presence has generated long-simmering resentment.
Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto on Wednesday called the alleged rape “vicious and mean” and said Japanese authorities were lodging protests with the U.S. government and military, as well as demands for better preventive measures.
Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima, who met with Morimoto over the matter, said it went “beyond madness” that the alleged attack took place two months after a U.S. Marine was arrested over accusations he assaulted and molested a woman in Naha, the capital of Okinawa.
Police in Okinawa identified the detained sailors as U.S. Navy Seaman Christopher Daniel Browning and Petty Officer Skyler Dozierwalker of Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Texas.
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The two men, both 23, are alleged to have raped a Japanese woman in the early hours of Tuesday morning, leaving her with an injury to her neck, police said. They were taken into custody later that day.
Tensions over the American military presence on Okinawa have boiled over before. Many residents were incensed by the rape of a 12-year-old Japanese girl in 1995 by three U.S. military personnel. And allegations that a Marine raped a 14-year-old girl caused a furor in 2008, although the girl decided not to pursue charges.
About half of all U.S. military personnel in Japan are stationed in Okinawa.