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U.S. Military Apologizes, Sets Curfew After Alleged Rape In Japan

The commander of U.S. Forces Japan apologized and announced that all military personnel in Japan would have to adhere to a night curfew beginning today.

The move comes after two Navy sailors allegedly raped a woman in Okinawa. Like the case in 1995, when three servicemen raped a school girl, opposition to U.S. bases swelled after the arrests.

"I want to personally apologize for the grief and trauma the victim has endured and the anger it has caused among people in Okinawa," Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella, Commander of the U.S. Forces in Japan, said in a statement obtained by The Wall Street Journal. "We will continue to do all we can to ensure the U.S.-Japan relationship remains strong."

Star and Stripes reports the curfew extends from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. and does not extend to contractors and the family members of the servicemen. The military paper reports:

"The curfew will remain in effect indefinitely. Violations are punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

"Angelella also ordered 'core value retraining' for military and civilians covered under the status of forces agreement, as well as a review of the USFJ liberty policy over the next few weeks.

"Japanese and Okinawan government officials did not immediately comment on the curfew."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.