Okinawa, Japan – 2 U.S. Navy sailors were arrested, now in custody, for raping a woman in Okinawa, Japan
Police officials in Okinawa identified the detained sailors as U.S. Navy Seaman Christopher Daniel Browning and Petty Officer Skyler Dozierwalker of Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Texas, both 23 years old.
The U.S. Navy sailors were arrested after allegedly raping the woman as she walked home in the early hours of Tuesday.
According to local media, the alleged victim, who is in her 20s, later identified the sailors at an off-base housing complex. The 2 men, who are in Japanese police custody, had reportedly been drinking before the alleged incident.
Police authorities in Japan stated that apparently, the 2 sailors followed the woman to her apartment complex where they allegedly raped and robbed her in the parking lot about 4 in the morning last Tuesday. A third sailor who reportedly witnessed the assault was taken into custody by Japanese police and later released to the U.S. Navy. The woman said after the investigation that she did not know the suspects and that she was walking home when she was attacked. She even suffered neck injury.
The rape case has come at a sensitive time for relations between the US military and residents in Okinawa, which hosts more than half of the approximately 47,000 US military personnel in Japan. It raises the possibility of further protests against the US military presence on the southern Japanese island.
Apprehensions over the American military presence on Okinawa have boiled over before. Many residents were infuriated by the rape of a 12-year-old Japanese girl in 1995 by 3 U.S. military personnel. There were also allegations that a Marine raped a 14-year-old girl which caused a commotion in 2008, although the girl decided not to pursue charges.
According to U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos ,the U.S. government is stated that they are extremely concerned by the accusations against the 2 service members.
More than this, there are some issues that were waiting to be addressed. The cases of misconduct by U.S. troops, some Okinawan residents have complained about issues such as environmental and noise pollution from the American presence. Most of the Japanese wants to see the U.S. airbase moved off the island chain but this is still under further negotiation.