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Last Updated: Friday, 15 October, 2004, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
US man accused of Okinawa rape
A civilian employee of the US military in Japan has been arrested on suspicion of raping a Japanese woman on the island of Okinawa.

The arrest prompted an angry reaction from the governor of the prefecture, Keiichi Inamine.

Okinawa is home to the largest US military presence in Japan.

Many local residents resent what they see as an unfair burden which the long-standing US-Japan military alliance places on the island.

The suspected rape comes after a series of incidents causing anxiety to the local community.

There has been a number of sexual attacks by US servicemen including the gang-rape of a 12-year-old girl in 1995.

In August, a US military transport helicopter crashed on the grounds of a university on the island.

Although no-one was hurt, some 30,000 residents took to the streets to protest against the US army bases on the island - the largest anti-US military demonstration in nearly a decade.

Japanese and US authorities are currently discussing the impact of a global realignment of American military forces to cope with new threats such as terrorism.

Many in Okinawa hope that one result will be a smaller US military presence.

The US sees the Okinawa bases, located within striking distance of China and the Korean Peninsula, as essential for its security strategy in Asia and the Pacific region.

US helicopter crash in Okinawa
13 Aug 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Okinawa: Island of resentment
06 Feb 01  |  Asia-Pacific
Japan gets custody of US marine
18 Jun 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Okinawa welcomes rape verdict
28 Mar 02  |  Asia-Pacific
Tense atmosphere in Okinawa
02 Jul 01  |  Asia-Pacific

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