NAHA, Okinawa Pref. – Police obtained an arrest warrant Monday for a U.S. Marine stationed in Okinawa for allegedly beating and raping a woman in May in the town of Kin.
After the Naha District Court’s Okinawa branch issued the warrant, Okinawa Prefectural Police called for a meeting of the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee to urge the U.S. military to hand over Lance Cpl. Jose Torres, 21, before indictment.
The bilateral meeting was held in Tokyo later in the day, with the Japanese side formally requesting that Torres be handed over to Okinawan authorities.
The U.S. side said it would consider the request and reply as swiftly as possible, according to Foreign Ministry officials. U.S. officials also said Torres is cooperating in the investigation and is repentant over his actions.
Torres, based at Camp Hansen, which is located in the town of Kin on the main island of Okinawa, is now in U.S. military custody.
Japanese investigators said they found what they believe to be traces of Torres’ bodily fluid on the woman’s body.
He initially confessed to the main allegations leveled against him during questioning by the U.S. military. During questioning by Japanese investigators, however, he denied raping the woman, stating that the sex was consensual, according to the police.
The woman sustained a broken nose and needs to undergo three weeks of treatment, police said.
Under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, which governs the management and operation of U.S. forces in Japan, the U.S. is not required to hand over service members who are suspects in criminal cases prior to indictment.
But following the rape of a 12-year-old girl by three U.S. servicemen in 1995, the United States agreed to give “sympathetic consideration” to the early handover of suspects in serious crimes, such as murder and rape.
Under the agreement, police are expected to ask the U.S. military to hand over the serviceman as soon as the warrant is issued.
Police allege that Torres raped the woman at around 3:30 a.m. May 25 after they had met at a restaurant in Kin.
The U.S. military notified Japanese police about the incident after a friend of the woman reported it to Camp Hansen.
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