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thedrifter
10-19-07, 06:44 AM
Friday, Oct. 19, 2007
US Marines in Japan Accused of Rape
By AP/CARL FREIRE

(TOKYO) — Japanese authorities are investigating the alleged rape of a teenager by four U.S. Marines in southwestern Japan last weekend, officials and media said Friday.

Police in Hiroshima prefecture are working with U.S. military officials to investigate the allegation, which the 19-year-old woman made to police, top government spokesman Nobutaka Machimura told reporters.

"It would be unforgiveable if this turns out to be true," Machimura said.

The U.S. has about 50,000 troops based in Japan under a bilateral security treaty. Many Japanese complain of crime, pollution and noise associated with the bases.

The rape of a schoolgirl in Okinawa, which has the largest U.S. military presence, by three American servicemen sparked large protests in 1995.

The woman in the newly reported incident allegedly met the men, believed to be Marines from the nearby Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station, at a restaurant or bar in Hiroshima early Saturday morning, local media reports said, citing unnamed police officials.

The men allegedly took the woman outside to a car and drove her to a parking lot about a mile away where they raped her, according to the reports.

The U.S. Embassy said that it was "aware of the reported incident" and, together with U.S. Forces Japan, was cooperating fully with Japanese authorities.

"We take reports of this nature very seriously," it said.

USFJ spokesman Master Sgt. Terence Peck made a nearly identical statement.

Neither officials nor the media reports named any of the people involved in the alleged incident.

Hiroshima is about 430 miles southwest of Tokyo.

Ellie

thedrifter
10-19-07, 06:47 AM
Friday October 19, 07:30 PM
Japan probes reported gang-rape by U.S. Marines
TOKYO (Reuters) - Police in Japan are investigating allegations that four U.S. Marines raped a 19-year-old Japanese woman, media and officials said, the latest episode to plague the U.S. military's relations with local communities.

"I have received a report of a Japanese woman being raped by several men in the early morning of October 14 in the city of Hiroshima," Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura told a news conference on Friday.

"The Hiroshima police are proceeding with the investigation in cooperation with U.S. forces in Japan," he said. "Of course, if it is true it is unforgivable."

Public broadcaster NHK reported that four U.S. Marines from Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station in southwest Japan had raped a 19-year-old woman in a car at a car park in nearby Hiroshima City after meeting her at an event hall.

The mayor of Iwakuni had suggested this week he was willing to discuss the expansion of the Marine base.

Major G.A. Canedo, public affairs officer at the base, said four Marines had been confined there.

"We are aware of the allegations. The matter is being investigated and we are cooperating fully with local authorities," Canedo said, but declined to give further details.

Police in Hiroshima confirmed that an investigation was under way but declined to say whether they would demand that the four Marines be handed over into their custody.

A U.S.-Japan pact governing the conduct of U.S. military personnel in Japan does not require the transfer of military suspects until they are charged, but Washington has agreed to favourably consider pre-indictment transfers in cases of suspected rape, murder and other heinous crimes.

Japan is host to about 50,000 U.S. military personnel as part of the U.S.-Japan security alliance, but friction often occurs with local communities near the bases because of concern about crime, accidents and noise.

The 1995 rape of a Japanese schoolgirl by three U.S. servicemen on the southern island of Okinawa sparked huge protests.

Last year voters in Iwakuni rejected in a non-binding referendum a plan to expand the nearby Marine base by moving carrier-based planes and personnel from Atsugi naval base near Tokyo.

Ellie

thedrifter
10-20-07, 05:10 AM
Four Marines held at Iwakuni in alleged rape of Japanese woman
By Travis J. Tritten and Chiyomi Sumida, Stars and Stripes
Pacific edition, Sunday, October 21, 2007



SASEBO, Japan — Four U.S. Marines were being detained Friday at the Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station after allegations they gang-raped a 19-year-old Japanese woman, according to a base spokesman, prefecture police and a Japanese chief cabinet secretary.

The victim says she was attacked and raped by the group of men early Oct. 14 in a Hiroshima neighborhood, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said Friday.

Hiroshima prefecture police said the woman’s charges are under investigation, but declined to provide details or comment further. The Marine Corps and U.S. Forces Japan said they are cooperating with Japanese police.

The identities of the accused Marines were not released Friday.

“Four Marines are in confinement at the MCAS Iwakuni detention facility pursuant to the investigation,” said Maj. Guillermo Canedo, base spokesman. “We are cooperating fully with local authorities.”

Canedo would not elaborate on the incident and directed questions to Japanese authorities.

A spokesman for Machimura said the woman filed a claim of rape with Hiroshima police, but the police department refused to confirm whether a report was filed.

“From what I understand, it was an incident that occurred in the early hours of Sunday, when a Japanese woman was attacked and raped by a number of men,” Machimura said Friday during a news conference, according a spokesman for his office.

When asked about the incident, Air Force Maj. Denise Kerr, a U.S. Forces Japan spokeswoman at Yokota Air Base, said the command is “aware of the allegations.”

“The matter is being investigated,” she said. “We are cooperating fully with local authorities.”

The U.S. Embassy released a statement Friday acknowledging the alleged incident, but also refused to comment further.

“The U.S. Forces and U.S. government are committed to maintaining the highest standards of discipline for U.S. military personnel in Japan,” the release stated. The report is being taken “very seriously.”

Such charges could ratchet up Japanese concern over the military presence in Iwakuni, where relations are already tense.

“If it is true, it is very deplorable. Investigating the fact is an urgent issue,” Iwakuni Mayor Katsusuke Ihara said, referring to the report during a news conference Friday, according to a spokesman for the city’s Military Affairs Office.

“We have too little information to make any concrete comment at this time,” the spokesman added.

Iwakuni is one of the last holdouts against a massive U.S.-Japanese military realignment plan that will affect 68 prefectures and municipalities throughout Japan and could add 4,000 more servicemembers to Iwakuni Marine Corps Air Station.

In 1995, two Marines and a Navy medic abducted and raped a 12-year-old Japanese girl on Okinawa. The incident reignited anti-military sentiment on the island and led to the U.S. agreeing to return 21 percent of the land used for bases on Okinawa.

It also resulted in changes to the way American servicemembers are incarcerated in the days leading up to indictment in a Japanese court.

Stars and Stripes reporter Vince Little contributed to this report.

Ellie