Local prosecutors said Tuesday that a 22-year-old U.S. marine was indicted last December over a sexual assault resulting in injury on a woman in Japan’s southernmost prefecture of Okinawa.
The latest indictment brings to light a steady slew of sexual and other crimes committed in Okinawa over the years by U.S. military and related personnel.
According to the indictment and investigators, Lance Corporal Jordan Begaye is alleged to have assaulted the woman off base in October. His victim had no known connections with him.
Begaye was indicted on Dec. 23 although the public was not notified about the case “due to its nature” and out of respect for the woman’s privacy, the prosecutors said.
They also did not make public whether the alleged assailant admitted to the charge or not, according to local accounts.
The police failed to arrest Begaye at the scene of the alleged attack as he had escaped by the time the victim had alerted neighbors saying she needed help and they had called the police, local media said.
In line with the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, the U.S. military handed over the alleged assailant to Japanese authorities following the Dec. 23 indictment.
Prior to this, the case was investigated with cooperation from the U.S. side, local media said, and the case was referred to prosecutors on Dec. 3, with the alleged attacker suspected of indecent assault resulting in injury.
Okinawa hosts the vast majority of Japan’s U.S. bases, yet the tiny subtropical island accounts for just a fraction of Japan’s landmass.
Instances of violent crimes, including murder and rape by U.S. military-linked personnel along with a near-constant string of U.S. military-related accidents, particularly those involving aircraft, have led to rising anti-U.S. sentiment on the island and vociferous calls from Okinawans for its decades of occupation by U.S. forces to be ended.