American Contractor Arrested in Japanese Woman's Death

The arrest has increased tensions between the US military and Japan
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted May 21, 2016 3:48 PM CDT
American Contractor Arrested in Japanese Woman's Death
Police officers escort Kenneth Gadson out of Uruma Police Station Friday in Okinawa.   (Ryosuke Ozawa/Kyodo News via AP)

An American contractor working on a US military base in Japan was arrested Thursday in connection with the death of a 20-year-old Japanese woman, the Washington Post reports. According to the AP, 32-year-old Kenneth Gadson told Japanese police where they could find the woman's body. Rina Shimbukuro had been missing since last week. The former Marine allegedly admitted to strangling Shimbukuro, but his attorney tells Stars and Stripes the confession was given while Gadson was "still in a daze" following multiple suicide attempts. The attorney says Gadson tried to kill himself with sleeping pills on Tuesday and again on Wednesday. Gadson has been charged with illegally disposing of Shimbukuro's body but not with the murder. Police don't believe the two knew each other and are still looking for a motive.

Tension was already high between the US military and the Japenese in Okinawa, where Reuters reports US military installations take up about 18% of the space, before Gadson's arrest. Okinawa's governor says he's "outraged" by Shimbukuro's murder. On Saturday, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter called Japan's defense minister to offer "apologies" and "sympathies." The US Defense Department states it will cooperate with Japanese authorities in the case and do whatever it can to keep something like this from happening again. A US serviceman stationed in Okinawa was arrested earlier this year on suspicion of raping a Japanese woman. (Read more Japan stories.)

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