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Drunk US Airman Allegedly Invades Home, Assaults Boy on Okinawa

Okinawans protest against the planned deployment of additional US military aircraft last month. (Photo: NHK screen grab)

A drunken American airman allegedly broke into a home on the Japanese island of Okinawa, smashed the place up and assaulted a 13-year-old boy.

Asahi Shimbun reports that the alleged incident occurred in the Furugen residential district of Yomitan, located about half a mile from Kadena air base.

According to local authorities, Okinawa prefectural police received an emergency call from a bar in Yomitan at around 1:00 a.m. Friday morning reporting a drunk, out-of-control American serviceman causing problems. The 24-year-old airman then allegedly stumbled upstairs from the bar and barged into an unlocked home on the third floor. Raw Story reports that the intruder kicked and destroyed a television and slapped a 13-year-old boy, one of two children sleeping in the home at the time of the alleged crime.

“I was sleeping in the living room when I was awoken by someone slapping me on the head,” the boy told Asahi Shimbun. “I found a foreigner standing there.”

The airman then made his escape by jumping from a third-story window, fracturing a bone as he struck the ground. Police arrived to find him lying passed out on the ground. He was transported to a US Navy hospital at Camp Kuwae in nearby Chatan.

Under the status of forces agreement between the United States and Japan, the alleged attacker will remain in US custody until he is indicted by Japanese authorities.

The alleged incident stoked fury among a Okinawan population wary of the massive American military presence on the small island group. Tensions were already running high over the alleged rape of an Okinawan woman by a pair of US servicemen just two weeks ago. These alleged crimes are but the latest in a string of thousands of offenses, ranging from drunken misconduct to rapes and murders– sometimes of children as young as six– committed by American troops over the decades.

The alleged home invasion and assault occurred despite a curfew imposed upon US troops in the wake of the alleged October rape.

Speaking of the most recent incident, Yomitan Mayor Denjitsu Ishimine called the alleged assault “atrocious.”

“There is no way to forgive the atrocious act of striking an innocent student, and on behalf of all village residents I lodge a strong protest.”

Okinawa Governor Hirokzau Nakaima also expressed his outrage.

“Discipline in the US military may only be an empty word,” he said. “The prevalence of incidents such as this will produce a crack in the Japan-US alliance.”

Japanase Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba called the alleged incident “outrageous” and “unforgivable.”

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said the alleged crime was “extremely regrettable.”

Responding to the latest flare-up over American misconduct in Okinawa, US Ambassador to Japan John Roos expressed his displeasure over the alleged crime but also defended US troops stationed in Japan.

“Let me be absolutely clear. I am very upset,” Roos said in Tokyo. But he lauded US troops who are “away from their homes that are here for the defense of Japan and [who] serve so ably in maintaining peace and security in this region of the world.”

The United States currently has about 47,000 troops stationed in Japan. About half of these are posted in Okinawa.

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