Two US sailors were sentenced and sent to prison in Okinawa, Japan on Friday for the rape and robbery of a young Japanese woman, refueling long-standing anger against the occupation by the American military in Japan.
The two servicemen, Christopher Browning and Skyler Dozierwalker, were sentenced by Okinawa's Naha District Court to a Japanese prison for the brutal rape a local woman in her 20s in a parking garage last October. Dozierwalker received nine years in jail while Browning was sentenced for ten, as he was also charged with robbing the woman of 7,000 yen ($75).
Both offenders, whom Judge Hideyuki Suzuki called "contemptible and violent," were not stationed in Okinawa but had been drinking there the evening of the attack.
"The ruling may seem severe, but the damage to the feelings of the victim and residents is more severe," Suzuki said in a statement after the case, according to Kyodo News.
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During a court appearance on Tuesday, the two men admitted to the rape, inciting protests across the island community. In an attempt to save face, the US imposed a nationwide night-time curfew as well as drinking restrictions on all US military personnel in Japan.
"Yet another incident has taken place. In fact, the severity of the incidents is intensifying," declared Okinawa lawmakers in a protest resolution drafted in the wake of the crime. "With overwhelming indignation, we must question the present efforts of the US Forces to prevent such incidents from happening."
This attack is just the latest example of the serial abuse that has been ongoing throughout the US military's occupation of Okinawa since the island was returned to Japan in 1972.
Currently half of the 47,000 American servicemen in Japan are stationed in Okinawa—a military presence that has been long fraught with accusations of crime, noise, and general provocation against the local community.