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Okinawa lodges protest with U.S. Marines over indecent assault case

  • February 13, 2021
  • , Okinawa Times, Ryukyu Shimpo
  • JMH Summary

The Saturday editions of Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times wrote that Masaru Kinjo, director general of the Executive Office of the Governor, summoned Neil Owens, director of Marine Corps Installation Pacific Government and External Affairs, to his office on Feb. 12 to submit a written protest over the arrest of a Marine on suspicion of indecent assault against a local woman. Kinjo reportedly told Owens that the incident was intolerable because it not only caused great anxiety among local residents but also violated a woman’s human rights. Owens reportedly apologized and said the Marine Corps takes the incident seriously and will cooperate fully with the investigation by the local police. According to Ryukyu Shimpo, Kinjo added that the suspect, who is believed to have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident, is likely to have violated the liberty regulations, under which servicemembers are banned from consuming alcohol off-base between 12 a.m. and 5 a.m., as well as COVID-19 infection prevention protocols restricting off-base activities. While quoting Owens as reportedly saying that the majority of Marines abide by the liberty regulations, the paper wrote that he did not say whether the suspect violated them. Governor Tamaki said at a regular press conference on Feb. 12 that he couldn’t help but doubt whether the liberty regulations were actually working.

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