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Japan: Okinawa govt, civic groups protest alleged sexual assault of minor by US airman

Japan: Okinawa govt, civic groups protest alleged sexual assault of minor by US airman

Tokyo, June 28 (SocialNews.XYZ) Several civic groups and the prefectural government in Japan's Okinawa have expressed strong anger over the indictment of a US airman for the alleged kidnap and sexual assault of a girl under 16.

At the prefectural government office on Thursday, Takekuni Ikeda, vice governor of Okinawa, told Brigadier General Nicholas Evans, commander of the US 18th Wing at Kadena Air Base in the prefecture, that the incident was serious and malicious as it trampled on the victim's human rights, and that it cannot be forgiven, reports Xinhua news agency.


Evans said, "I'm deeply concerned by the severity of this allegation, and I regret any anxiety this has caused," indicating that the US side will cooperate with the investigation and trial. But he did not offer an apology.

The vice governor said that he could not help but say that education and management at US bases in Okinawa are inadequate and criticised the US side for failing to provide sufficient information about the case.

Ikeda protested the fact the prefecture was not notified about the indictment that was made in March until it was contacted by the Foreign Ministry's Okinawa office on Tuesday.

Ikeda also demanded speedy and effective steps to prevent a similar case, an apology to the victim, and early compensation for her, saying this is a worrying incident for people who are forced to live next to US bases in the prefecture.

Meanwhile, at a news conference at the prefectural government office on Thursday, representatives from six civic groups in Okinawa called for the removal of all existing US bases and a ban on building new ones.

Keiko Itokazu, who co-heads a group of women protesting bases and troops in Okinawa, said she feels heart-wrenching pain when she thinks about the terror and despair inflicted on the victim.

She criticised the Japanese and US governments and the US forces in Okinawa for promising to ease the burden of the bases while doing nothing about the actual situation, where the lives and livelihoods of the people in the prefecture are threatened by such serious and vicious crimes.

The Naha District Public Prosecutors Office filed charges against the US Air Force member Brennon Washington, 25, on March 27 for allegedly kidnapping a girl under the age of 16 in December and committing nonconsensual sexual intercourse, local media reported.

Okinawa hosts 70 per cent of all the US military bases in Japan while accounting for only 0.6 per cent of the country's total land area. Crimes committed by US service members and nonmilitary personnel have been a constant source of grievance for locals.

Source: IANS

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Japan: Okinawa govt, civic groups protest alleged sexual assault of minor by US airman

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