• Kyodo


Prosecutors are demanding a four-year prison sentence for a U.S. sailor who has pleaded guilty to raping a woman at a hotel in Okinawa Prefecture in March.

The prosecutors said in their closing arguments Monday at the Naha District Court that the actions of 24-year-old Justin Castellanos were “selfish and absolutely despicable,” and sought a harsh punishment.

The sailor, based at Camp Schwab, was indicted for raping a woman at a hotel in Naha on March 13. The victim, a woman in her 40s from Fukuoka Prefecture, was in Okinawa on holiday.

While the prosecutors said Castellanos took advantage of the state of the woman, who was asleep in a hotel corridor, his lawyers are seeking a lenient term, saying he had initially planned to take care of the woman after finding her.

Castellanos has apologized in court for his action.

The ruling is set for July 15.

His trial comes at a time local anti-U.S. base sentiment is strong, fueled by a separate alleged rape and murder case involving Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, a former U.S. Marine and a worker at the U.S. Air Force’s Kadena Air Base also in Okinawa.

Residents in Okinawa have been frustrated over a spate of crimes and accidents involving U.S. service members and civilians working at American bases.

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