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Woman Arrested Near US Base in Okinawa for Biting Police Officer

On Thursday, Japanese authorities arrested a woman and charged her with causing bodily injury and obstructing a police officer after biting an officer outside of US Marine Corps Base Camp Schwab in Okinawa.

The woman was arrested around 9:25 a.m. local time, and was one of three arrests made near US military bases in Okinawa that day, Stars and Stripes reports.

A Nago prefectural police spokesman said the officer was attempting to stop the woman from running to the highway near one of the base’s gates when she bit the officer on the arm, leaving bite marks.

Authorities have not released information on the woman, and it is not yet clear whether she belongs to protests groups that often demonstrate against the US military’s presence on Okinawa. Two people who ignored police warnings and crossed property lines at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and at Schwab were also arrested that day.

The Act on Special Measures Concerning Criminal Cases, a provision under a bilateral security treaty, prohibits anyone entering US military installations without permission.

According to police, the cases went to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Naha District on Friday.

Okinawa houses about 50,000 Defense Department employees, troops and families, and sees nearly daily protests against the American presence on the island, which holds strategic value for Washington due to its close proximity to North Korea and China.

ometimes these demonstrations grow quite large, with one June 2016 rally growing to an estimated 65.000 people. The protesters held placards that read,  “Marines, get out,” and “Our rage beyond the bounds.”

In February it was announced that the Japanese government was going to pay $265.9 million to Okinawa residents living near the Kadena Air Base in an aircraft noise settlement.

To lighten the island’s load, bases have recently been consolidated and Marines have been shipped to Guam and a number of other US bases.

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U.S. murder suspect didn’t fear rape charge in Japan

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Kenneth Franklin Shinzato is transferred to the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office from a police station in Uruma, Okinawa Prefecture in May.

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.

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