Marine faces sexual assault charge

2010-08-04 17:02

Tokyo – A US Marine was arrested on southern Okinawa island on Wednesday for an alleged sexual assault of a local woman, according to police and media reports.

The 28-year-old man attacked the woman, in her 20s, when she returned to her apartment at around 03:50, reports said.

He pushed her into a room, covered her mouth with his hand and fondled her body as she struggled to escape, media said.

A neighbour called the police and the man was arrested 15 minutes later as he tried to flee, reports said.

The man had denied charges, reports said, adding that the suspect and victim had never met before the alleged attack.

Okinawa police confirmed the arrest, but could not immediately release details of the case.

Okinawa reluctantly hosts more than half of the 47 000 US troops stationed in Japan, which relies on American armed forces for its defence.

Violent crimes committed by US soldiers in Okinawa have been a source of anti-US base sentiment in the sub-tropical island prefecture, particularly after a 1995 gang-rape of a schoolgirl by three Marines.

In 2009, Okinawa police either arrested or apprehended some 50 foreigners related to US military, including soldiers, their families and civilians who work for the military.