Jail His @$$
U.S. Marine Wanted on Japan Rape Charge
Japanese Police Obtain Arrest Warrant for U.S. Soldier
Accused of Rape
The Associated Press
TOKYO June 16 —
A Japanese court issued an arrest warrant Monday for a Marine accused of raping a 19-year-old woman on the southern island of Okinawa, authorities said.
The alleged attack against the woman has spurred Japan's prime minister to call for stricter discipline among U.S. forces in Japan.
A district court in Okinawa granted police permission on Monday to arrest 21-year-old Lance Cpl. Jose Torres, police spokesman Shinpachi Higashizato said. Police did not say when they were planning to arrest the Marine.
Torres is based at Camp Hansen, on the island of Okinawa, home to more than half of the 47,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan. Officials declined to release the Marine's hometown.
The attack allegedly took place around 3:30 a.m. on May 25 in the town of Kin, according to a statement released last week by the Marines at Camp Butler.
The woman suffered a broken nose and sexual assaults, Higashizato said.
Police say the suspect admitted punching the woman in an alley but denied raping her, saying sex was consensual, Kyodo News service reported. They had earlier met at a bar, Kyodo said.
Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi telephoned U.S. Ambassador Howard Baker on Monday and conveyed her "regrets" over the alleged crime.
"It is extremely regrettable that the arrest warrant was issued to a marine soldier on suspicion of such a serious crime as rape," Kawaguchi said in a statement.
Kawaguchi said she planned to press the U.S. military to hand over the suspect prior to indictment.
Okinawa police were questioning the suspect, who is under U.S. military custody, on a voluntary basis, Higashizato said.
The handling of military suspects is a sensitive issue on Okinawa. In 1995, the rape of a local schoolgirl by three U.S. servicemen triggered outrage on the island.
Japanese authorities have jurisdiction over this case because it allegedly occurred off base. But under a bilateral agreement, the United States military is not required to hand over military suspects until they are indicted.
The military can agree to do so on a case-by-case basis if it deems there is a valid need.
Okinawa is about 1,000 miles southwest of Tokyo.
Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. All rights