National / Crime & Legal

Kin of slain Okinawa woman seek compensation from U.S. government because Shinzato unable to pay

Kyodo

The family of a slain Okinawan woman will ask the U.S. government to pay compensation because the former U.S. base worker convicted of her murder cannot, their lawyer said Monday.

Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, 34, who is appealing his conviction by the Naha District Court for the 2016 murder in Okinawa of the 20-year-old woman, did not appeal its Jan. 31 order to pay compensation. Financial figures have not been disclosed.

Because his defense team claims Shinzato is unable to pay, the family will seek payment from the U.S. government under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, the lawyer said.

According to the indictment, Shinzato attacked the woman for the purpose of raping her on a road in Uruma at around 10 p.m. on April 28, 2016. He stabbed her in the neck with a knife and struck her on the head with a bar so she would not resist, resulting in her death.

Shinzato, a civilian who was working for an internet company at nearby U.S. Kadena Air Base at the time, has appealed, denying he had intent to murder.

Under a program that permits damages claims in a criminal trial, the family of the woman filed for reparations, and the court awarded almost the full amount sought, the lawyer said. The program is intended to support victims of crime.

The case sparked an uproar and strengthened anti-U.S. base sentiment in Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of U.S. military facilities in Japan and regularly deals with crimes committed by American servicemen or military-linked personnel.