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Entries in Okinawa (12)

Tuesday
May282013

Pilot Rescued After F-15 Jet Crashes East of Okinawa

Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR(KADENA AIR BASE, Japan) -- The pilot of an F-15 fighter jet that crashed early Tuesday morning was rescued from the ocean east of Okinawa.

The plane was flying out of the U.S. Air Force Base at Kadena and suffered difficulties about 15 minutes into the flight that forced the pilot to eject and the aircraft the crash into the water approximately 70 miles east of Okinawa, according to a press release from the United States Forces Japan.

American and Japanese crews responded to the scene of the accident and recovered the pilot about one hour later.

The pilot's name has not been released.

Despite the plane's generally good safety record, the crash is the third major incident in the past decade involving an F-15 jet in Okinawa.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar012013

Judge Sentences Two American Sailors After Rape of Japanese Woman

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- A Japanese judge handed down sentences for two American sailors convicted of raping and robbing a woman in Okinawa last October, calling their actions “contemptible and violent.”  

Seaman Christopher Browning and Petty Officer 3rd Class Skyler Dozierwalker both admitted to their crimes and were sentenced to ten and nine years behind bars, respectively. But the incident is reigniting longstanding tensions between the U.S. military and Okinawans.

Okinawa Island houses over half of the 50,000 American troops in Japan, and plays a crucial role in regional security, but the rape is only the latest in a series of incidents that are sparking outrage and building resentment.

In 1995 most notably, three soldiers were only sentenced to six and a half years each after the brutal gang rape of a 12-year-old girl. The crime and lax sentencing sparked massive anti-U.S. demonstrations.

Incidents like this only add to general complaints about noise and the dangers that come with living near military bases. Before the rape last October, residents were already upset at U.S. plans to deploy Osprey aircraft to the island.

Although most military crimes are tried in military court, severe and contemptible offenses such as rape can be tried in Japanese courts, as was the case here.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Nov272012

US Navy Bans Sailors in Japan from Drinking at Night

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- The U.S. Navy is cracking down on sailors in Japan following a string of arrests involving military personnel.

Sailors will now be banned from drinking alcohol between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m., even if they are in their homes, regardless of leave or liberty status.

The strict rule comes just weeks after U.S. forces in Japan enforced a curfew for all military personnel based there.  That was a direct response to allegations that two American sailors raped a young local woman in Okinawa last month.

A handful of other arrests have followed since.  In the most recent case, a sailor was caught urinating and stripping naked at a café.

About 53,000 troops are stationed in Japan, but the Japanese have become increasingly wary of the large military presence there.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov192012

US Marine Arrested in Okinawa for Allegedly Trespassing

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- A U.S. marine was arrested in Okinawa on suspicion of trespassing over the weekend -- the third time an American serviceman has been linked to an alleged crime in Japan's southernmost island in a month.

This time, police say 1st Lt. Tomas Chanquet snuck into an unlocked room drunk and slept there until the resident spotted him.

The incident Sunday comes weeks after U.S. airmen reportedly assaulted a local teenager.

In October, two navy sailors were arrested for allegedly raping a young woman after a night of drinking.  The U.S. enforced curfews for all military personnel in response, but critics say that's done little to keep residents safe.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Oct192012

US Military Imposes Curfew in Wake of Alleged Rape in Okinawa

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- In the wake of an alleged rape case involving two American sailors in Okinawa this week, the U.S. military on Friday imposed an immediate curfew on all personnel, on and off its bases in Japan.

On Tuesday, Seaman Christopher Browning and Petty Officer 3rd Class Skyler Dozierwalker were arrested by Okinawan authorities shortly after a local woman, 27, said she had been sexually assaulted and robbed in front of her apartment building.

The reported victim did not know the men, and initially ignored their advances outside a bar where the sailors had been drinking, Japanese media reports said.  The men followed her into an empty street, where they allegedly attacked her and slashed her neck.

Under the Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Japan, Japanese authorities are holding the sailors and have primary jurisdiction because it involved a Japanese national.  The Navy's Criminal Investigative Service is also conducting its own investigation and providing support to Okinawan authorities.

A Navy official said the sailors are based at Fort Worth Naval Air Base in Texas and were temporarily deployed to Japan as part of the crew of a Navy cargo plane.  The plane's crew had flown a mission from Atsugi in Japan to Okinawa, but was required to stay the night on the island because of crew rest requirements.

The alleged incident is said to have occurred during their stay.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Oct172012

US Sailor Allegedly Confesses to Rape in Japan

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- One of the two U.S. sailors arrested in connection to the rape of a woman in Okinawa has confessed to the alleged crime, according to police on Japan's southernmost island.

Seaman Christopher Browning and Petty Officer 3rd Class Skyler Dozierwalker were arrested early Tuesday by Okinawan authorities shortly after a local woman, 27, said she had been sexually assaulted and robbed in front of her apartment building.

The reported victim did not know the men, and initially ignored their advances outside a bar where the sailors had been drinking, Japanese media reports said.  The men followed her into an empty street, where they allegedly attacked her and slashed her neck.

Police spokesman Yoshitaka Maeshiro, who would not elaborate on the extent of her injuries, said Dozierwalker had confessed to the crime while Browning has denied the allegations.

The U.S. Embassy in Tokyo acted swiftly in response to the allegations, putting out a statement overnight from Ambassador John Roos, expressing "concern" and vowing to cooperate "fully with the Japanese authorities in their investigation."

He apologized to Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima, a staunch critic of U.S. military presence on the island, who joined the Foreign Ministry in lodging a formal protest against the incident.

Addressing reporters, Roos assured the Japanese public he "understood their anger."

"The entire United States government, including our military, will continue to work our hearts out to earn the trust of the Okinawan people and the people of Japan," he said.

Washington's response speaks to the sensitivity of the alleged crime, on an island that's home to more than half of the 50,000 troops based in Japan.  The heavy presence has long been a point of contention between residents and the military community.  The anger reached a boiling in 1995 when three marines were arrested in connection with the rape of a 12-year-old girl.  U.S. military authorities took the men into custody then, sparking mass anti-U.S. demonstrations from Okinawans outraged they weren't prosecuting the case.

In a meeting with the minister of defense, Nakaima called the alleged incident "senseless" and demanded the U.S. do more to "discipline its servicemen."

Under the Status of Forces Agreement between the United States and Japan, Japanese authorities are holding the sailors and have primary jurisdiction because it involved a Japanese national.  The Navy's Criminal Investigative Service is also conducting its own investigation and providing support to Okinawan authorities.

A Navy official said the sailors are based at Fort Worth Naval Air Base in Texas and were temporarily deployed to Japan as part of the crew of a Navy cargo plane.  The plane's crew had flown a mission from Atsugi in Japan to Okinawa, but was required to stay the night on the island because of crew rest requirements.

The alleged incident is said to have occurred during their stay.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct162012

Two Sailors Arrested for Alleged Rape in Okinawa

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(OKINAWA, Japan) -- Two U.S. Navy sailors have been arrested in Okinawa for the alleged rape of a local woman.  The arrests come at a  rocky time for the U.S. military presence on Okinawa, which is home to half of the 50,000 American military forces based in Japan.

Seaman Christopher Browning and Petty Officer 3rd Class Skyler Dozierwalker were arrested early Wednesday by Okinawan authorities after a local woman alleged that she had been sexually assaulted and robbed in front of her apartment building.

A Navy official says that at approximately 4 a.m. Tuesday a group of sailors allegedly followed a 27-year-old woman to her residence.

Three sailors were picked up at 6 a.m. after she made a report to Okinawan authorities, but only Browning and Dozierwalker remain in custody.

The Japanese Foreign Ministry lodged a formal protest over the incident with the U.S. embassy in Japan.  Speaking to how seriously the incident is being taken by American diplomats in Japan, the embassy released a statement from U.S. Ambassador John Roos, saying the U.S. government is “extremely concerned” by the allegations.

“We are committed to cooperating fully with the Japanese authorities in their investigation,” he continued. "I am also in close contact with the Commander, U.S. Forces Japan.  These allegations, given their seriousness, will continue to command my full personal attention.”

The Okinawa governor, Hirokazu Nakaima, is expected to fly to Tokyo to lodge a formal complaint with the U.S. embassy in person.

For decades there has been significant local opposition to the continued  presence of large American military bases on the island, particularly the Marine base in Futenma.  The most recent flare-up involved the Marine deployment to the island of tilt rotor Osprey aircraft.  Local government officials said the aircraft posed a safety risk following two recent Osprey crashes that recalled the aircraft’s shaky safety record very early in its development.

There were massive protests on the island in 1995 following the rape of a 12-year-old schoolgirl by three U.S. Marines.

Per the Status of Forces Agreement between the U.S. and Japan, Japanese authorities are holding the sailors and have primary jurisdiction because it involved a Japanese national.  The Navy’s Criminal  Investigative Service is also conducting its own investigation and providing support to Okinawan authorities.

The Navy official says the sailors are based at Fort Worth Naval Air Base in Texas and were temporarily deployed to Japan as part of the crew of a Navy cargo plane.

The plane’s crew had flown a mission from Atsugi in Japan to Okinawa, but was required to stay the night on the island because of crew rest requirements.

The alleged incident is said to have occurred during their stay.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr272012

US, Japan Reach Deal on Moving Marines Out of Okinawa

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(TOKYO) -- The U.S. and Japan have reached an agreement to move 9,000 Marines off the southern island of Okinawa.

The proposal, which is part of the Obama administration's larger push to beef up security in Asia, was announced by both countries on Thursday.  Under the reworked deal, about 5,000 Marines will be sent to Guam, with the rest being spread out across Australia and Hawaii.

The new plan follows years of disagreements between the U.S. and Japan over the future of military bases in Okinawa.  The countries have agreed to relocate a controversial base to a remote part of the island, but strong local opposition and environmental concerns have delayed those plans.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb272012

US, Japanese Officials Meet to Discuss Future of Marine Base

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is greeted by US military staff upon his arrival at the Futenma US air base at Ginowan. STR/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Senior American and Japanese officials are in talks once again to decide the future of a controversial U.S. marine base on Japan’s southern island.

Defense and diplomatic officials met in Tokyo on Monday to discuss how to deploy Marines from Okinawa to Guam. A 2006 agreement calls for 8,000 Marines to be moved off of the island, while Marine Corps Air Station Futenma moves to a remote part of Okinawa.

But local opposition to the plan has delayed the move. The two sides are now treating the base relocation and marine deployment as separate issues. They hope to have a redeployment plan in place by May.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb072012

Japan May Move US Marines to Guam

Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Thousands of U.S. Marines in Japan could be headed to Guam soon.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda says he is considering a plan that would transfer close to 5,000 Marines out of the southern island of Okinawa, where a majority of the U.S. bases are located.

That's a break from a previous bilateral agreement that calls for 8,000 Marines to be moved out of Japan, so long as the controversial base Futenma is moved to a remote part of the island.

Okinawans, who are increasingly frustrated with U.S. military presence, say they want that base off the island altogether. That opposition has stalled U.S. efforts to realign troops in Asia. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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