Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine voiced dissatisfaction Thursday that police were forced to wait to take custody of a U.S. Marine suspected of raping a local woman, demanding fundamental revisions to the agreement covering jurisdiction over U.S. troops in Japan.
Inamine was speaking a day after U.S. military authorities agreed to allow local police to arrest Lance Cpl. Jose W. Torres before formal charges were brought against him.
The alleged rape took place May 25 in the town of Kin. A 19-year-old Japanese woman was sexually assaulted and suffered a broken nose, local police said.
The Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement allows the U.S. military to retain custody of personnel suspected of crimes until they are charged.
Following outrage over a gang rape committed by U.S. servicemen in Okinawa in 1995, however, it agreed to consider preindictment handovers in serious cases.
Inamine is a vocal proponent of changing the bilateral agreement to bolster the jurisdiction of Japanese authorities. He reiterated these demands while speaking to reporters Thursday.
Inamine’s spokesman quoted him as saying he was “not satisfied” with the handling of the incident, even though U.S. authorities responded to a Japanese request for custody in two days, faster than in a previous rape case two years ago.
“The governor’s position is that just because the response was faster doesn’t mean the agreement (governing jurisdiction over U.S. forces in Japan) is working better,” said Takashi Kamiunten.
“If anything, it shows that both governments are aware of how unhappy people are with it.”
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