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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Bloomberg: Japanese Police Arrest U.S. Marine Suspected of Sexual Assault in Okinawa ブルームバーグ: 沖縄で性暴力 海兵隊員逮捕

Bloomberg Business News, August 4, 2010

Japanese police arrested a U.S. Marine for the alleged sexual assault of a woman on the island of Okinawa, where similar incidents in the past have led to protests against the American military presence.

Marine Sergeant Phillip Edward Sawyerr, 28, was taken into custody in the capital of Naha early this morning on suspicion of breaking into the house of a woman in her 20s and sexually assaulting her, police spokesman Motoki Haneji said by phone. The U.S. serviceman has denied the charges, Haneji said.

The U.S. Marine Corps based in Okinawa acknowledged the arrest in an e-mailed statement without mentioning the name of the person held. The Marines are “fully cooperating” with the investigation by the Naha Police Department, it said.

The arrest of a Marine in 1998 led to demonstrations outside the U.S. embassy in Tokyo and Okinawa’s local assembly adopted a resolution demanding the U.S. remove military personnel from the island, where about half of American forces in Japan are located.

Months of protests after allegations American servicemen raped a 12-year-old girl in 1995 forced the U.S. to agree to relocate an airbase from central to northern Okinawa. Former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama cited his failure to keep a campaign promise to relocate a base off the island as a reason for resigning in June.

There are about 47,000 U.S. military personnel based in Japan on land and at sea, according to the U.S. Forces in Japan Web site.

To contact the reporter on this story: Yumi Otagaki in Tokyo at







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