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Monday, 10 July, 2000, 06:54 GMT 07:54 UK
Discipline warning for Okinawa military
US aicraft carrier in Japan
The US has a large military presence in Japan
By Charles Scanlon in Tokyo

The Japanese government has warned the US military on the island of Okinawa to do more to improve discipline in the run-up to this month's summit of the G8 industrialised countries.

The statement came in response to the recent sexual assault on a 14 year old girl by a US marine and a hit-and-run accident involving an American soldier.


The government is concerned that opponents of the US bases in Okinawa could try to disrupt the G8 meeting due to be held on the island in two weeks' time.

The chief cabinet secretary, Hidenao Nakagawa, acknowledged that people were angry over recent incidents but said most Okinawans still wanted to see a successful summit.

He said the government had urged the United States military to tighten discipline on the island, which is home to more than half the 48,000 American troops based in Japan.

Anti-base demonstrations have taken place in recent days after an American marine was accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

Another soldier allegedly drove off after his car hit and injured a Japanese civilian.

Controversial venue

US troops
US marines have been in Okinawa for 55 years
The decision to hold the G8 summit in Okinawa was always a controversial one.

No American President has visited the island since the United States ended its occupation in 1972 and handed it back to Japanese rule.

Resentment at the continued presence of nearly 30,000 troops boiled over five years ago after the gang rape of a schoolgirl by United States marines.

The Americans agreed to relocate one of the bases but residents are strongly opposed to its new location on a coral reef off the picturesque east coast.

They are threatening demonstrations during the summit, which is being held at Nago, just a short distance from the proposed new base.

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See also:

07 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Okinawa curfew after sex charges
04 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Japan police probe US base attack
16 Jun 00 | Asia-Pacific
US soldier guilty of sex killing
15 Nov 98 | Asia-Pacific
Anti-US governor loses Okinawa vote
15 Oct 98 | Asia-Pacific
Okinawa death strains US-Japan relations
23 Jun 00 | Media reports
Key Japan battle commemorated
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