An American charged with raping and murdering an Okinawa woman blamed the victim and thought he would get away with the attack because of Japan’s culture of shame, according to a report.
The suspect, Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, “didn’t fear being caught because of Japan’s low rate of reporting sexual assaults … due to cultural and social stigma,” according to a Stars and Stripes article published on Feb. 14.
The U.S. military newspaper quoted lawyers for Shinzato, 33, a former U.S. Marine who was a civilian worker at the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture.
Okinawa prefectural police initially arrested Shinzato in May last year on suspicion of abandoning the body of the 20-year-old woman who resided in Uruma in the prefecture. He was later arrested and indicted on charges of rape and murder.
“I intended to hit her with the stick and make her lose consciousness, then put her in the suitcase, take her to a hotel and then rape her,” the defense team quoted Shinzato as saying in the article.
Police suspect he ambushed the woman while she was walking for exercise in Uruma on the night of April 28. They believe Shinzato and the woman had never met before.
One of the lawyers told Stars and Stripes that the suspect believes “it was her fault for having been there at the time.”
The lawyer told The Asahi Shimbun on Feb. 15, “My client is not expressing any remorse over the incident.”
The defense team plans to have the suspect undergo a psychiatric assessment before his trial starts around June.
According to the lawyer, a transcript of the defense team’s interview with Shinzato was released to Stars and Stripes because he wanted to tell his story only to fellow Americans.