In wake of arrests, more restrictions on U.S. troops in Okinawa
Some 50 civic group members hold placards to protest over the alleged rape of a local woman by two US servicemen in Okinawa.
October 18th, 2012
06:59 PM ET

In wake of arrests, more restrictions on U.S. troops in Okinawa

By Larry Shaughnessy

U.S. troops in Japan will soon be placed under more restrictive rules when they leave base after the arrests earlier this week of two U.S. sailors accused of raping a local woman in Okinawa.

The incident has created growing concern for the American military.

U.S. military sources tell CNN the commander of all U.S. troops in Japan is looking at possibly issuing more restrictive rules about what they can and cannot do when they leave base during off-duty hours. The Navy had just announced it was creating less restrictive rules for sailors behave off-duty. The new restrictions would apply not just to the Navy but to all U.S. military in Japan.

A statement from the spokesman for Defense Secretary Leon Panetta issued said the measures will "ensure responsible behavior and to demonstrate our commitment to maintaining positive relationships with the local communities that host our forces."

Lt. Theresa Donnelly, a public affairs officer for U.S. Pacific Command, told CNN that the details on what those measures will be should be announced by early Friday.

Police in Okinawa identified the detained sailors as U.S. Navy Seaman Christopher Daniel Browning and Petty Officer Skyler Dozierwalker of Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth in Texas.  The two men, both 23, are alleged to have raped a Japanese woman in the early hours of Tuesday morning, leaving her with an injury to her neck, police said. They were taken into custody later that day.

The incident has prompted a woman's group in Okinawa to call for more restrictions on what U.S. military personnel can do when off-base.

 The issue of violent crimes, especially rapes, by U.S. troops in Japan has been a divisive issue between the two countries for decades. It came to a peak in 1995 when a U.S. sailor and two U.S. Marines were convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl. Tens of thousands of Okinawans took to the streets at the time demanding that the United States leave the island south of Japan's main islands.

 In that case, the U.S. military at first refused to turn the suspects over to Japanese authorities. But in this most recent case, the suspects were in Japanese custody almost immediately. 

 The alleged attack took place two months after a U.S. Marine was arrested over accusations he assaulted and molested a woman in Naha, the capital of Okinawa.

 Relations between the U.S. military and the people of Okinawa have already been stressed in recent months over the U.S. Marine Corps' deployment of MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to a base on the island. Some citizens on Okinawa are concerned because the Osprey has had a reputation for crashing. The Okinawan community has long been against the presence of the U.S. military, which recently announced that thousands of Marines will be moved to a base in Guam.

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Filed under: Japan
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Yahaira

    And it's not only the seas around Okinawa. That denfiitely sounds like a US Navy announcement, which you can hear off the East or West coasts of the US or frankly anywhere on the planet. They generally keep the live fire zones out of the major shipping lanes, but as you say, fishing boats, yachts and sailing vessels don't stick to those lanes.

    November 13, 2012 at 1:52 am | Reply
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    November 6, 2012 at 11:41 am | Reply
  3. notraitors

    HEY CNN. WHAT'S THE MATTER. I CAN'T POST SOMETHING CRITICAL OF SOROS OR THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT?

    October 19, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Reply
  4. Voice of Reason

    This seem to be a common crime that the US force overseas commits against the local citizens. Regardless of where they are deployed, rape and other crime are too often committed. Is this the superiority complex of the US, or are there just too many idiots in their defense/offense force.

    Perhaps they should be stationed on the coast of the country (on their ships) that they are supposedly trying to protect. This will avoid contact with the innocent locals.

    October 19, 2012 at 6:14 am | Reply
    • R. Wilson Reagan

      Thank you, Voice of Reason. I couldn't agree more! We Americans do need to rid ourselves of our superiority complex and how!!!! After all, we're no better than anyone else! Besides, just who are we purportedly protecting the J apanese from anyway?

      October 19, 2012 at 8:56 am | Reply
      • notraitors

        Just as soon as we stop the foreign aid gravy train

        October 19, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
      • Lars

        R. Wilson Regan,
        Stop trolling.

        October 19, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Lars

      I think this is an isolated incident and the suspects should be prosecuted by the laws of the host country. Whats with all this hate towards the U.S. Military. The military is not to blame but the people who committed the raping.

      October 19, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Reply
  5. Tom

    Did it occur to any of you that those accused could possibly be innocent? Sheesh.

    October 19, 2012 at 5:31 am | Reply
    • sarrasunshine

      If you didn't just read CNN, you would know that one of the fine young gentleman turned himself in, confessing to the crime. So, no. Innocence didn't really seem plausible.

      October 19, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
  6. Pietro

    The Navy had just announced it was creating less restrictive rules for sailors behave off-duty.

    Huh?

    October 19, 2012 at 4:37 am | Reply
  7. John Davis

    The best solution is for the US military to relocate somewhere on their own soil.

    Okinawa is NOT US soil.

    Okinawans are sick and fed up with a foreign military taking up our living space and causing incidents like this one.

    Time to go home, guys.

    Bye!

    October 19, 2012 at 4:32 am | Reply
    • Mike

      Little Davis. Why would we leave Okinawa? Last time I check during WW2 we fought for the island and won. We also lost a lot of men. So what makes you think we will leave so easily? Besides just living here i see how the women are. They just act like they've been rape just for money. Second if we were to leave this island would sink. There's nothing here. And as long as we've been paying to stay here. ( which I don't see why) we will be here forever. So while you say bye. I say hello.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:00 am | Reply
      • John Davis

        Mikey – Wow! You're way out of present time.

        You do realize WWII ended in 1945, don't you?

        As to when you leave, you will, of course, leave when you are told to.

        "Ours not to reason why. Ours but to do or die!"

        Duh!

        October 19, 2012 at 5:03 am |
      • Mike

        Yeah. I know the war ended in 1945. But we fought for it and won it. If you think about. We should just turn this island into 51st state

        October 19, 2012 at 5:07 am |
      • Mike

        What I don't understand is why so many of your women in Okinawa are so desperate to marry an American so they can go the USA. O that's right Okinawa is a dump that depends on the revenue that the USA brings there.

        October 19, 2012 at 5:09 am |
      • Mike

        O that's right. When I leave. There will be somebody else in my place. Does that burn you to know that? I'm leaving my house now. I will go cut off you guys off on the road. Cause you don't know how to drive. Always slow here. Later.

        October 19, 2012 at 5:12 am |
    • Mike

      Also. Look at the Philippines. We had a base there. Then we left. Now there begging us to come back.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:04 am | Reply
      • SAS

        Actually no, they are not !

        October 19, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
      • Henry

        So true did a sight survey there couple of years ago, U.S. decided not worth it but they are still trying

        October 22, 2012 at 3:45 am |
    • Jim

      US personnel behave this way because the officers don't lead. The NCOs don't lead either, but then they are to dumb. If you look at the behavior of our enlisted men in Iraq, Afghanistan and now (again) Okinawa, you see a consistent pattern of violence toward local civilians. They get the idea from someone - and it ain't the President - that this behavior is OK. Time for some work on the officer corps, beginning at the top.

      And as for the gent who thinks winning a battle in 1945 justifies rape today, I rest my case.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:15 am | Reply
      • Joe

        Dont ever say NCO's dont do their jobs the NCO is the first line supervisor of the people in the military but you must know people still have free will and NCOs are not baby sitters they solve problems not create them if you want to do something retarded as this a no one cant stop you know matter the rank

        October 19, 2012 at 6:48 am |
    • teresa

      I agree let move out the iland, and when China, Korea come kiking there buts just say no! thean they wont have us to leave off us after all the have rice.

      October 21, 2012 at 6:20 am | Reply
      • John Davis

        Teresa, is that what you're being told?

        That China and Korea are the enemy?

        It can't be helped, I guess you sacrifice your right to think freely when you join up.

        The world is full of terrorists and only the great US of A can bring Peace and Freedom!

        Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!

        (How do you spell "raspberry?")

        October 21, 2012 at 7:10 am |
  8. Bren kryg

    Why all US military men should be restricted when the mere stupid ones are the sailors and marines in Okinawa?

    October 19, 2012 at 1:42 am | Reply
    • ADG

      It's not just the marines and sailors that are committing these hainess acts of stupidity all branches are it's just that the air force and the army pay the citizens to keep the mouths shut and tell them that it was US military. Therfor they reply with marines because we stick out.

      October 19, 2012 at 2:14 am | Reply
      • Jitsuman

        No it is usually the Marines, there are more of them than any branch on Okinawa. The Army and Air Force have done their fair share but mostly people from the Dept of the Navy are the usual suspects. They need to learn how to handle their alcohol.

        October 19, 2012 at 5:08 am |
    • Joe

      Its not just sailors and marines its air force and army too pacific wide

      October 19, 2012 at 6:50 am | Reply
      • teresa

        NO it is the sailors, madrines just read the paper

        October 21, 2012 at 6:23 am |
    • Henry

      Your an IDIOT

      October 22, 2012 at 3:39 am | Reply
  9. B.P.

    From what Ive read on multiple websites, the Navy servicemembers had it planned out. They planned to commit this crime just before they were to depart the island. This affects us all on the island and it is unfortunate that this happened in the first place. I agree they need to be prosecuted to the fullest Its too bad that all of the rest of us will have to suffer the consequences of these idiots who were only on the island for a few days!

    October 19, 2012 at 1:39 am | Reply
    • jox58

      I don't know if that's true or not, but it's in line with what I've long observed during my time in the service and still now as a military retiree.

      These types of crimes are more often committed by young troops on temporary duty or short tours. Just as some people feel less inhibited to do things away from home where no one knows them than they would do in their home towns, the same thing happens in the military. Even when these crimes are committed in Korea, it's generally by young guys on one year tours but almost never by troops on the longer tours there or at other bases overseas where they become recognized members of the local communities.

      October 19, 2012 at 7:08 am | Reply
    • teresa

      I agree, i realy like it here I hop this dose not stop white beach festivale

      October 21, 2012 at 6:36 am | Reply
  10. Romney

    They should be immediately arrested every time they escape from base.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:26 am | Reply
  11. MJDai

    Such a army cannot win any war. They are just rubish and should be thrown into the Pacific.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:22 am | Reply
  12. Obam@2012

    No problem, Todd Akin said she can't get pregnant anyway!

    October 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  13. Name*john

    Instead of just assuming they are guilty, let the courts decide. Innocent until proven guilty. Wait, nevermind. This is 2012. That doesn't apply anymore.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Reply
  14. Kevin

    Execute that trash.

    October 18, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  15. George Patton

    Instead of just putting restrictions on these troops, we'd do far better just to pull them out of there altogether and replace them with troops from neighboring China!!! In the meantime, we need to see that those filthy rats who raped those two women get prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!!!

    October 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Reply
    • R. Wilson Reagan

      Beautifully posted George and I couldn't agree more. Yes, those two pigs do need to be brought to justice and imprisoned for a very long time, no matter what any right-wing fool, either in or out of the Tea Party may have to say on their behalf!!!!!!

      October 18, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Reply
      • ATC

        I agree with the above but as a service member in Okinawa it seems the alleged actions are a set-up to further the anti-Osprey movement. Two months ago a Marine was walking down a street and a women started talking to him, layed down and started screaming for help. If they are guilty, hang them, as service members on Okinawa we have firsthand knowledge of the political situation here and it's stressed to us everyday, but who knows they could be very well be inncocent. On another tangent the Okinawans protest the Osprey because they are afraid of it crashing yet the day they fly in the launch baloons, kites, and flares into their flight path which could have caused them to crash!!

        October 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
      • kudson

        the pigs need to be executed

        October 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
      • notraitors

        The tea party has nothing to do with this, sparky. If you want to talk about rape, take a look at the occupy miscreant movement

        October 19, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
      • SFC( RET) M Perez Laguerre

        RWR: You are an idiot and a troglodite....

        December 22, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Larry

      I agree prosecute to the fullest and lock them up...

      October 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Reply
    • Jim

      Check out Mike, who implies that he helped win the battle for Okinawa, then says that justifies raping civilians.

      October 19, 2012 at 5:21 am | Reply
      • John Davis

        I did, Jim.

        He is what the British used to describe in the 16th century as "cannon fodder."

        But don't blame him.

        Blame the idiots who sent him here.

        Blame the idiots who set up this situation so that there are foreign military bases on Okinawan soil.

        October 19, 2012 at 5:24 am |

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