US sailors jailed for rape of Japanese woman in Okinawa

Two US sailors who raped a Japanese woman in Okinawa last October, sparking island-wide anger, have been jailed for nine and 10 years, a report said.

The Naha District Court said Christopher Browning, 24, should be jailed for 10 years while Skyler Dozierwalker, 23, should serve nine years, Jiji Press reported.

Earlier this week the two men had admitted the offence, which caused outrage on the sub-tropical islands and beyond, and led to a nationwide night-time curfew on all US military personnel in Japan.

Despite the curfew, misconduct involving US servicemen, much of it drunken, has continued to fuel anti-US sentiment in communities with bases.

The attack came amid already high tensions in Okinawa, which saw demonstrations last year against the US deployment to the island of Osprey aircraft. Local activists charge they have a poor safety record.

Okinawa is the reluctant host to more than half of the 47,000 American service personnel in Japan, and the crimes, noise and risk of accidents associated with their bases regularly provoke ire in the local community.

In 1995 the gang rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by US servicemen sparked mass protests resulting in a US-Japan agreement to reduce the huge US military presence on the Okinawan chain.

Washington sees the island as a vital strategic bridgehead in a region that is increasingly wary of the power of China's rising military.

- AAP

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 29 Dec 2014 13:49:22 Processing Time: 409ms