Home Uncategorized US Air Force soldier charged with kidnapping and raping minor in Japan

US Air Force soldier charged with kidnapping and raping minor in Japan


A US Air Force soldier, aged 25, has been charged with kidnapping and raping a teenage girl under the age of 16 in Okinawa, Japan, where the largest American military base in the region is located, BBC reported.
The alleged assault took place on December 24, and the soldier was identified through security camera footage after the girl’s family reported the incident.He has been in the custody of Japanese authorities since late March.
The case has reignited long-standing opposition to the US military presence in Okinawa, which hosts more than half of the 54,000 US soldiers serving in Japan. Sexual assault cases involving US service personnel have fueled anger in the past, with one of the most high-profile incidents occurring in 1995 when a 12-year-old girl was raped by three US service personnel, sparking months-long protests.
Government spokesman Yoshimasa Hayashi revealed the charges to the public on Tuesday, stating that the US officials are fully cooperating with investigators. Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has lodged a complaint with US Ambassador to Japan, Rahm Emmanuel, and the first hearing in the case is scheduled for July 12. Okinawa governor Denny Tamaki described the case as “not just disturbing… but also a violation of the girl’s dignity”, and said it “brought a significant level of distrust”.
Japan hosts one of the world’s largest American military forces outside the US, with about 30,000 American soldiers stationed across Okinawa. The bases have become increasingly strategic for Washington due to Okinawa’s proximity to Taiwan, allowing the US to respond quickly to any Chinese threat. However, seven in ten Okinawans feel that the concentration of US bases on their islands is “unfair”, according to an opinion poll last year.
Accidents and crimes involving Japanese victims have long stirred tension around the American presence. In 2012, a US Navy officer killed two Japanese citizens in a car accident, and in 2017, a US army base worker was convicted for the rape and murder of a 20-year-old local woman. Efforts to move the US bases to less populated parts of Okinawa have been made, but locals want them removed altogether.
However, experts say Japan’s military alliance with the US is too strong for that to happen, given the challenges posed by China’s growing claims over disputed waters and islands, and North Korea’s barrage of missile tests.

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