Fuji-TV reported at noon that Okinawa Governor Onaga, who is currently visiting the U.S., commented on the questioning of a person connected to the U.S. military for possible involvement in the disappearance of a 20-year-old woman in Okinawa. He said: “There was an assault incident in Naha just a month ago…. If the report is true, I think this is the harsh reality Okinawa is facing.” The network said while the man is denying his involvement in the woman’s disappearance, the police are planning to continue to question him on a voluntary basis. TV-Asahi reported that the Department of Defense released a comment, saying the U.S. military is fully cooperating with the local investigation and pointing out that the man being questioned does not belong to the U.S. military and was hired by a private company to work at Kadena AB.
Most infotainment TV programs in the morning and afternoon gave substantive play to the questioning of the American base worker by the Okinawa police, with commentators speculating that the local investigators have collected additional circumstantial evidence implicating him other than information showing that his car passed by a site where the missing woman’s cell phone issued its last location signal. One pundit said on TV Asahi that while he is supportive of the U.S. military presence in Okinawa for ensuring national defense, the GOJ must be more aggressive in demanding SOFA revisions to crack down on offenses by U.S. service members. The broadcasters explained that under the SOFA, U.S. citizen base employees are entitled to the same privileges and protection accorded to service members.