A US Marine was released into US custody today after Japanese prosecutors dropped rape charges against him, Reuters reports. The Okinawa arrest had sparked outrage across Japan, but prosecutors backed off when the alleged victim withdrew her accusations. The 38-year-old Marine had admitted holding down his 14-year-old accuser but maintained he’d only kissed her.
Prosecutors said they weren’t indicting the suspect “out of consideration for the victim’s feelings.” The Marines are still investigating the case and say it’s “premature to speculate on any further legal action on our part.” The allegations had threatened to become a diplomatic incident, with Japan’s prime minister calling the act “unforgivable” and Condoleezza Rice flying to Japan in part to apologize. (Read more Okinawa stories.)