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Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto has expressed anger about the “vicious crime” committed by two US military servicemen arrested on charges of raping a Japanese woman in Okinawa Island.
Morimoto said on Wednesday that he was deeply concerned by the “serious crime” and called it “vicious and mean.”
The defense minister also stated that Tokyo lodged protests with Washington and the US military over the sexual assault, calling for preemptive measures to make sure that such incidents would not happen again.
Meanwhile, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima, who met with Morimoto to discuss the issue, said the assault was “insane,” adding that it went “beyond madness” that the incident occurred only two months after another US soldier was arrested for assaulting a Japanese woman in Naha, Okinawa.
“This is nothing but abhorrent,” Nakaima said. “We cannot accept this no matter how much (the US military presence) is claimed to be necessary for national security.”
In addition, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda decried the alleged rape and said it was “intolerable.”
Okinawa police identified the soldiers as Navy Seaman Christopher Daniel Browning and Petty Officer Skyler Dozier Walker of Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Texas.
The two 23-year-olds were arrested on Tuesday for raping the woman earlier in the day and leaving her with a neck injury.
The alleged sexual assault has already angered the Japanese public, who are against the presence of the US military forces on the island.
Okinawa residents also expressed anger at the gang rape of a 12-year-old Japanese school girl in 1995 by US soldiers and another allegation that a US soldier raped a 14-year-old girl in 2008.