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Japan says repeated crimes by US military personnel threaten alliance

[JURIST] Japanese Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba [official profile] urged the US Friday to adopt preventive measures to stop further crimes by American troops in Japan. The warning comes after a US Marine was arrested [Reuters report] last week for allegedly raping a 14 year-old girl on Okinawa, an incident that sparked outrage [MDN editorial] among the public and Japanese media. At a parliamentary meeting, Ishiba said:"I don't think an alliance is possible unless the U.S. shares the view that if incidents like this continue to happen, it could shake the foundation of the Japan-U.S. alliance." On Friday, Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura announced further security measures including surveillance cameras and joint Japanese-American patrols.

US Forces Japan (USFJ) [official website] observed a Day of Reflection, [news release] Friday emphasized professionalism and "military values" among US personnel serving in Japan. USFJ has also organized a Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Task Force. Some local groups and residents have complained for decades [backgrounder] about violence perpetrated by US military personnel stationed in Japan, although the number of reported crimes is down by half of what it was five years ago. AP has more. BBC News has additional coverage.

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