Japan has submitted an official letter of protest to the US diplomatic mission in Tokyo over the brutal murder of an Okinawan woman, which is suspected to have been carried out by an American.
On Thursday, Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida summoned US Ambassador Caroline Kennedy to the Foreign Ministry and handed over the letter after the police arrested the 32-year-old suspect.
The body of Rina Shimabukuro, who had been missing since late April, was recently found in a weed-covered area in southern Okinawa. Police have found DNA matching the dead woman’s in a car belonging to Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, a former US Marine, who lives in southern Okinawa and works at the US Air Force’s Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost prefecture.
The police, accordingly, suspect the man of having murdered the victim and disposed of her body.
“It is extremely regrettable that the very cruel and atrocious case occurred,” Kishida told Kennedy, according to Nippon Television Network.
Okinawa has become known as the site of enduring tensions with the US forces deployed there, and hence a lasting source of conflict between Washington and Tokyo. Pacifist inclinations as well as security and safety concerns have prompted the Japanese to protest against the deployment.
A Japanese woman holds a banner while listening to a speaker during a rally against a new US military base in Okinawa in front of the National Diet, Japan’s legislature, in Tokyo on February 21, 2016. ©AFP
Multiple cases of misconduct by US forces have raised anti-American feelings among the islanders.
Back in 2013, two American sailors admitted to raping a woman in Okinawa a year earlier in a case that sparked huge anti-US sentiments in Japan.
In 1995, the gang rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by US servicemen also sparked mass protests.