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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 June 26 - July 2  > 5 US soldiers in Okinawa arrested for sex crimes in past 17 months
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2024 June 26 - July 2 [US FORCES]

5 US soldiers in Okinawa arrested for sex crimes in past 17 months

July 2, 2024
Five U.S. soldiers assigned in Okinawa were arrested for sex crimes between January 2023 and the end of May 2024.

On July 1, the chief of the criminal investigation department of Okinawa Police provided this information to a question from Japanese Communist Party Assemblymember Higa Mizuki at a meeting of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly special committee on U.S. military bases.

On the other hand, the head of the prefecture’s office dealing with U.S. bases, in his reply to a question from an Okinawa Social Mass Party assemblyperson, stated that the prefecture had not received a single report on the five cases from the U.S. military or Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The head of the investigation newly revealed that a 31-year-old marine was arrested (not indicted) for sexual assault in January, in addition to the kidnapping and rape of a minor by a 25-year-old airman last December and the rape by a 21-year-old marine in May.

JCP Higa said, “If the information had been shared with the Okinawa prefectural government last December, measures could have been taken to prevent similar incidents before they occurred.”

The “All Okinawa Council” and Okinawa-elected opposition Dietmembers on July 1 visited the MOFA Okinawa Liaison Office and lodged a stern protest against the state government’s apparent cover-up of the incidents.

They pointed out that according to the “procedures for reporting incidents involving U.S. forces in Japan,” which the Japanese and U.S. governments agreed upon in 1997, information should be shared between the two governments and be reported to the prefecture and municipalities through the Okinawa Defense Bureau. They, however, stated, “This stipulation is not in effect at all.”

Itokazu Keiko, a leader of the All Okinawa Council, said, “The government has been abandoning its duty to report crimes. The failure to comply with that stipulation has been allowing to more crimes to be committed.”
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