Sunday, 17 December, 2017

Former Marine gets life in prison for rape

Former US base worker gets life in prison for murder of Okinawa woman Ex-US Marine gets life sentence for rape, murder in Okinawa
Dexter Carr | 03 December, 2017, 01:00

An Okinawa district court has sentenced a former civilian worker at a USA military base to life imprisonment for killing a Japanese woman in April of previous year, the NHK broadcaster reported. The island's United States bases have been repeatedly criticized by local residents for driving up crime, including the rape of local women, for aircraft and vehicle crashes in and around the bases, and for the environmental degradation caused by the USA presence.

He confessed to the rape of 20-year-old Rina Shimabukuro on April 28 last year, as well as the subsequent abandonment of her body, but fought the murder charge, claiming he did not intend to kill.

District Judge Toshihiro Shibata, in finding Shinzato guilty of murder, said yesterday: "The immeasurable viciousness of the accused led to the senseless killing of a young woman, who only just came of age". She was discovered in a forest, three weeks after disappearing while taking a walk.

At the time of the crime, Shinzato was a civilian hired to do Internet-related work at the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture. He pleaded guilty to rape resulting in death and abandoning of the body, but denied murder.

U.S, military newspaper Stars and Stripes named the killer as Kenneth Franklin Gadson and said he went by his Japanese wife's surname of Shinzato.

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Crimes committed by American service members around the base at Okinawa have always been a source of tension between the two nations. Opponents want the air station completely removed from the island.

The U.S. military says the crime rate among its ranks in Japan is lower than among the general public.

The 2016 attack was brought up by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during former President Obama's May trip to the nation previous year.

Half of about 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan are on Okinawa.

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