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Amid Rape Allegations, U.S. Restricts Soldiers on Okinawa

October 12, 1995| From Associated Press

TOKYO — The U.S. military is restricting night life and alcohol for troops on Okinawa after three servicemen allegedly raped a local schoolgirl, fueling calls for a reduction or withdrawal of U.S. troops.

Starting Friday, a big entertainment district near Kadena Air Base will be off-limits for U.S. soldiers after midnight, the military said Wednesday.

Other recent measures include limits on alcohol sales at base stores and increased military police patrols.

Two U.S. Marines and a sailor are in Japanese custody on charges of raping a 12-year-old girl on Sept. 4. No trial date has been set. If convicted, they could face life in prison.

Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama, speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, called the rape "disgusting" and said he understands Okinawans' anger over "numerous base-related incidents" over the years.

Murayama said he plans to discuss the possibility of cuts in the U.S. troop presence with President Clinton at a meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Japan next week.

About 29,000 of the 45,000 U.S. troops in Japan are stationed on Okinawa, where almost three-quarters of the land is set aside for the U.S. military.

The small island, located between Japan's main islands and Taiwan, is a key U.S. outpost in the Pacific. Relations between residents and U.S. forces were strained even before the rape because of brawls and the murder of an Okinawan woman by a Marine in May.

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