New Sexual Assault Charge Shocks Okinawa

After alleged rape, 2nd case threatens US-Japan ties
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2008 9:31 AM CST
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Christopher Hill, right, is greeted by Shinichi Nishiyama, director general of North American Affairs Bureau at Foreign Ministry of Japan, during their meeting at the...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The American military is investigating a second allegation of sexual assault against a woman on the Japanese island of Okinawa. Reuters reports that a soldier has been taken into custody, accused of sexual assault against a Filipina living on the island. The new allegation comes only a week after a Marine was arrested on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old girl.

Okinawans have long nursed anxieties about the military's presence on the island, and last week's arrest sparked giant protests. As Washington and Tokyo struggle to maintain ties, assistant secretary of state Christopher Hill told a top Japanese diplomat of his "great regret" over the rape charge. The military yesterday imposed a 24-hour curfew, banning troops from leaving their homes or bases except to go to school, church, or a doctor.