President Obama Calls Okinawa Crime ‘Inexcusable’

Kirk Spitzer, USA Today, May 25, 2016

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed “strong indignation” to President Obama during a face-to-face meeting Wednesday about the death of a young Japanese woman allegedly murdered by a U.S. military worker.

“As Japanese prime minister, I protested sternly to President Obama over the recent incident in Okinawa,” Abe said at a joint news conference after their meeting. “I feel strong indignation about the selfish and extremely mean crime,” Abe said, according to the Kyodo News Service.

Obama, who arrived in Ise-Shima, Japan, for the meeting of the Group of Seven industrialized nations, called the Okinawa crime “inexcusable” and said the United States is “committed to doing everything that we can to prevent any crimes from taking place of this sort.”

The crime has tapped into long-simmering resentment toward U.S. troops and bases on the island of Okinawa, an important hub of the U.S. “rebalance” to Asia, and threatens to derail the relocation of a key U.S. airbase there.

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A former U.S. Marine, Kenneth Gadson, 32, was arrested May 19 in connection with the death of a woman who went missing in late April after telling a friend she was going for a walk.

Kenneth Gadson

Kenneth Gadson

Local media reported that Gadson, a civilian contractor at Kadena Air Base, on Okinawa, was arrested after showing police where the woman’s body had been dumped in a wooded area. His attorney said Gadson confessed to raping and murdering the woman, who was an office worker, and dumping her body. Police said the victim had been chosen at random.

The incident came just two months after a Navy sailor was arrested for raping a Japanese tourist who had fallen asleep in the hallway of a hotel in Naha, Okinawa’s capital.

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