The two Americans plead guilty to the charges, admitting toraping the young Japanese woman and robbing her of about $76 inOctober 2012. The indictment claims that the two sailors“attacked the woman as she walked along a street in centralOkinawa just before 4 a.m., choking her and covering her mouth,causing a neck sprain, as they forced her to have sex” withboth of them.The rape dominated Japanese news reports late last year andprompted a reaction from American ambassador to Japan, John V.Roos, who said the US government was “extremely concerned.”“These allegations, given their seriousness, will continue tocommand my full personal attention,” Roos told the New YorkTimes in a statement.This week, the Japanese court in Naha sentenced 24-year-oldSeaman Christopher Browning to 10 years imprisonment and23-year-old Petty Officer 3rdClass Skyler Dozierwalkerto nine years imprisonment. Both of them plead guilty to thecharges. Browning is serving a longer sentence for robbing thevictim of her cash.While handing down the sentence, presiding judge Hideyuki Suzukidescribed the Navy sailors’ actions as “contemptible and violent”.The two men will spend the next decade locked up in a Japaneseprison.Since the rape occurred, Okinawans have been outraged at thepresence of American forces on their island. They had already beenuncomfortable with the military personnel and have long complainedabout disruptive behavior and crimes conducted by US servicemembers.In September, the US had also decided to base a new type ofaircraft, a tilt-rotor MV-22 Osprey, at an Okinawan Marinefacility. The local population heavily protested the Osprey’sdeployment, due to its poor safety record in training flights.Ignoring the Okinawan’s opposition, the US deployed the aircraftand reignited a deep Japanese resentment of the military.After the rape, public anger reached its highest level and theUS military was forced to impose a curfew upon its personnel inJapan.Most crimes committed by US service members in Japan are dealtwith in military courts, but because of the seriousness of the rapecase, the Japanese court handled the conviction. Prosecutorsinitially sought to sentence Browning to 12 years in prison, butthe defense argued that this sentence was too excessive.The case has received widespread media coverage by Okinawannewspapers, who strongly oppose the presence of the US military andintensely cover crimes by American military personnel and theirfamilies. In October, the NHK, Japan’s national broadcaster,reported that this was the seventh rape that resulted in the arrestof a American servicemen since the US returned to Okinawa in 1972.In 1995, three Americans kidnapped and raped a 12-year-old Okinawanschoolgirl. The service members beat her, tied her up, andduct-taped her eyes and mouth while raping the child. The incidentsparked mass protests against the US military presence.In the 1995 case, two of the men received seven-year prisonsentences and the third received a six-and-a-half yearsentence.The US military is already unpopular in Okinawa, and with eachadditional crime by service members, resentment continues torise.
Link to article: