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Wednesday, 25 July, 2001, 12:59 GMT 13:59 UK
Okinawa 'rape victim' attacks media
Japanese media grab shots of rape suspect Timothy Woodland
Intense media interest has surrounded the case
The woman allegedly raped by a US airman last month on Japan's Okinawa island has lodged a protest about media coverage of the case, saying she is terrified of her identity being revealed to the public.

As the trial approaches, the woman says she is suffering great psychological trauma, which has been compounded by the heightened interest in the case.


I have been forced to live in terror that I will be exposed to the public

Alleged rape victim
The incident has sparked the outrage of Okinawa's residents, who have witnessed a series of crimes involving US soldiers based on the island.

In a letter to a rape crisis centre in the island's capital Naha, the woman spoke of her fears.

"I have been forced to live in terror that I will be exposed to the public," she said.

'Mindless rumours'
Car park near Kadena airbase - scene of the alleged rape
The shopping and amusement arcade where the alleged rape took place

She criticised magazine reports on the case, which she accused of misrepresenting her.

"There have been some mindless rumours spread about me, and I feel indignant that some weekly magazines have written false stories which denigrate me," she said.

The woman said some reporters had called her at work and told her the incident was her fault because she was out in the middle of the night.


I am suffering great anxiety and fear

Alleged rape victim
"I have hit my lowest point psychologically," she said. "It is bitter for me to recall or talk about the rape."

Fear

The Japanese news agency Kyodo quoted her as saying she was undergoing "great anxiety and fear prior to the trial of the case".

The alleged rape took place in the early hours of 29 June in the car park of the American Village shopping and amusement arcade outside the sprawling Kadena base, about 18km (11 miles) north of Naha.

Japanese protesters
The incident outraged Okinawa residents
Twenty-four-year-old staff sergeant Timothy Woodland, stationed at the Kadena base, has been charged with rape and is due to face trial.

Woodland maintains his innocence, claiming the sex was consensual.

The island has seen a number of crimes involving US servicemen, including the gang rape of a 12-year-old girl in 1995.

This latest case has triggered renewed demands for a reduction in the huge bases that cover 20% of Okinawa's land.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

19 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
US rape suspect charged in Japan
07 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Japan detains US rape suspect
02 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
Tense atmosphere in Okinawa
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