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Arrest warrant issued for U.S. Marine rape suspect

Date Posted: 2003-06-22

A U.S. Marine allegedly has confessed to raping a woman in Kin Town outside Camp Hansen, and the Okinawa Prefectural Police have obtained an arrest warrant. Immediately after the warrant was issued, police called for the U.S. military to hand over the 21-year-old suspect, who has been American custody.

U.S. officials conducting the investigation say that the suspect has confessed and is repenting his conduct. Japanese inspectors say that when they questioned the suspect, however, he denied the rape charge and claimed that he and the woman had consensual sex. Police say that he admitted hitting the woman, who sustained a broken nose that will take about three weeks to heal.

Police allege that the Marine raped the woman at around 3:30 a.m. May 25 after they had met at a restaurant in Kin. The U.S. military notified Japanese police about the incident after a friend of the woman reported it to Camp Hansen. Before the incident, several servicemen reportedly saw the suspect leaving the bar with the victim. Prefectural Police say that they have been able to confirm that the victim will press charges against her assailant.

The incident has caused considerable political stir with both national and prefecture top politicians raising their voices. Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi stated, "This incident is extremely serious and regrettable. Efforts to enforce discipline among U.S. troops stationed in Japan must be conducted continuously and forcefully."

Kawaguchi said police notified her of the incident the day after the incident. She said that her first thought was "Not again." Minister of Okinawan Affairs Hiroyuki Hosoda stated, "If this is true, it is extremely regrettable. Although we have repeatedly requested the US military for thorough discipline and education, we must request for further efforts."

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