US soldier arrested on suspicion of raping Japanese tourist in Naha

March 15, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

March 13, Naha police arrested a U.S. Navy sailor, 24, who belongs to Camp Schwab in Nago, on suspicion of raping a Japanese tourist sleeping at a hotel in Naha.

The suspect was sent to Naha District Prosecutors’ Office on March 14. According to investigating officials, the suspect denies the charges, alleging that he had not been there (the room) and that he had been at a drinking bar at the time of the alleged offence.

According to the Okinawa Prefectural Police, 147 U.S. servicemen, military civilian employees, and their family members were charged with rape in 129 cases that took place during the period from May 15, 1972, when Okinawa was returned to Japanese sovereignty from U.S. administration, to the end of 2015.

On March 14, Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga expressed his strong dissatisfaction at the alleged rape incident by the U.S. serviceman, saying, “This is a serious crime violating the woman’s human right.”

Vice Governor Mitsuo Ageda urged Ambassador in charge of Okinawan Affairs Masashi Mizukami and Director General of Okinawa Defense Bureau Kazunori Inoue to take measures to prevent the recurrence of such crimes by U.S. military personnel.

According to the Naha Police, the suspect and the alleged victim were not personally acquainted. The woman was staying with her female acquaintance in a room at the hotel.

According to reports, she went out of the room to buy a drink. When she came back, the room was locked because her roommate had fallen sleep. The woman tried to wake her roommate by ringing a cell phone, but this was unsuccessful. Finally, she had to sleep in the corridor as she could not enter the room.

According to the investigators, the suspect brought the sleeping woman from the corridor into his room. At 4:00 a.m., the acquaintance heard screaming from the room in which the suspect stayed. She knocked on the door and found the victim and the suspect.

When the suspect was arrested, a slight amount of alcohol was detected on his breath.
The suspect and his fellow sailors visited the hotel and reserved their own rooms. They had drunk alcohol near the hotel prior to the incident and had come back to the hotel separately.

There is a possibility that they may have violated the U.S. military’s “liberty policy”, the code of conduct for U.S. service members and civilian employees, which regulates the staying out and drinking of alcohol off-base during off-duty hours in Japan.

(English translation by T&CT)

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