View Full Version : US to hand over Marine to Japan

06-18-03, 12:04 PM
US to hand over Marine to Japan

From correspondents in Tokyo

UNDER intense pressure, US military authorities agreed today to allow Japanese police to take custody of a Marine suspected of raping a woman on the southern island of Okinawa.

The Marine would only be the second US serviceman turned over for arrest on Okinawa prior to formal indictment. The US military normally retains custody of personnel suspected of crimes until they are indicted but can turn them over sooner if the crime is deemed serious enough.

A court on Okinawa issued an arrest warrant Monday for the Marine, 21-year-old Lance Corporal Jose W Torres. He has been detained in a cell on base but has appeared for questioning by Japanese police on a voluntary basis.

US officials agreed to hand over Torres to Japanese police at a time to be worked out later, said Seichiro Taguchi, an official with Japan's Foreign Ministry.

The alleged attack took place around on May 25 in the Okinawan town of Kin, according to a statement released by the Marines. The woman suffered a broken nose and was sexually assaulted, local police said.

Crimes involving US military personnel are a sensitive issue on Okinawa, home to about half of nearly 50,000 American troops stationed in this country. Last week, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi urged the US military "to enforce strict discipline so this kind of incident does not take place."

The rape of an Okinawan schoolgirl by three US servicemen in 1995 triggered outrage on Okinawa and led the two countries to agree that Washington would give "sympathetic consideration" to requests for suspects to be turned over prior to indictment for serious crimes.

The first US serviceman on Okinawa to be turned over to Japanese police prior to indictment was an airman arrested for rape in July 2001. In that case, US military officials delayed transferring him for four days after an arrest warrant was issued, saying they wanted guarantees his rights would be respected.

Officials said today they decided to turn over Torres after being assured his rights would be protected.

"The government of Japan assured the US government that the service member will receive fair and humane treatment throughout his detention," the US military said in a statement.



U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Jose Torres is brought into the Ishikawa police station on Japan's southern island of Okinawa after the United States agreed to hand him over to Japanese authorities. The 21-year-old Marine was arrested on suspection of raping a 19-year-old Japanese woman in the early hours of May 25.