Friday, February 22, 2008

Pinay raped by US soldier

40,000 American troops stationed in Japan.

The alleged assault on the Filipino victim is the second rape incident involving an American serviceman in Okinawa this year.

It is also the second reported rape of a Filipino woman by a US serviceman. In 2007, a US Marine, who was participating in a joint military exercise with Filipino troops, was convicted of raping a 23-year-old woman in Subic Bay, Olongapo in the province of Zambales .

Last week, police detained a U.S. Marine for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl on Okinawa, a case that has stirred outrage across Japan .

The US military said it is investigating the alleged rape incident, which was revealed a day after it imposed a curfew on troops and their family members to stem public anger in Japan .

Anti-US sentiments in Okinawa are high following the 1995 sexual molestation of a 12-year-old Okinawan schoolgirl who was gang-raped by three American servicemen.

In a related development, the US military said Thursday it was investigating new allegations of rape by a US serviceman in Japan amid an uproar after a string of criminal cases.

The case was revealed one day after the US military imposed a sweeping curfew on troops and their family members in a bid to stem public anger in Japan, a close US ally.

A Filipino woman said she was raped by a member of the US Army on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, which is home to half of the more than 40,000 US troops in the country, officials said.

“The US Army takes this matter very seriously,” Army spokeswoman Dottie Vick said. “Army authorities are investigating and will continue to fully cooperate with the Okinawa prefectural police.”

She declined further details, saying the case was under investigation.

Kyodo News, quoting unnamed sources, said police planned soon to seek an arrest warrant for the soldier over the alleged rape, which was said to have taken place in mid-February in the central part of Okinawa.

US troops are stationed in Japan under a security treaty with the country, which has been constitutionally pacifist since World War II. Okinawa, which was under US occupation until 1972, is a key hub due to its proximity to the Taiwan Strait.

The alleged rape was the latest case this month to damage the image of US forces in Japan.

Okinawa police on Feb. 11 arrested a US Marine on allegations he raped a 14-year-old local girl in his car. Staff Sergeant Tyrone Luther Hadnott, 38, has admitted trying to forcibly kiss the teenager but denied raping her.

“We are so fed up,” Mieko Hokama, a member of a group that opposes US bases, told reporters after a meeting in Tokyo with members of parliament. “We have already had more than enough.”

An Australian woman, who was recognized by a Japanese court as having been raped by a US navy serviceman in 2002 in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, said Japan has been like a “combat zone” even after World War II.

“Even since the war, there have been so many rape cases by US servicemen in Japan,” said the woman, who only identified herself as Jane.

“I speak about my case because I don’t think the 14-year-old girl could talk about her’s right here,” she said outside of parliament.

Three US Marines gang-raped a 12-year-old girl in Okinawa in 1995, leading to major protests that set in motion a process under which Washington agreed to withdraw some 8,000 troops from the small island.

Okinawa police said they have investigated 14 cases of rape allegedly committed by US servicemen since the 1995 incident.

However, protests in Okinawa have been relatively small since the latest case. Okinawa voters in 2006 rejected a candidate for governor running against the US bases, which contribute about five percent to the island’s economy.

Thomas Schieffer, the US ambassador to Japan, quickly flew to Okinawa last week after the rape case arrest to offer a personal apology and to pledge new training for the troops. With AFP

A Filipino woman was allegedly raped by a member of the US Army in Okinawa Japan last week, reports yesterday said.

While investigators in Japan are looking into allegations of sexual assault on the Filipino victim, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Philippine Embassy in Japan maintained silence over the incident.

Reports said investigators are still determining if the alleged rapist is a soldier or a civilian employee working for the US Army in Okinawa.

Okinawa is home to half of more than
By Michaela P. del Callar - Daily tribune

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