09:55 GMT +327 June 2019
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    U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors, right, and two F-15 Eagles prepare for take-off at Kadena Air Base on the southern island of Okinawa, in Japan (File)

    US Military Personnel Have Committed Nearly 6k Crimes in Okinawa Since 1972

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    US military personnel have committed over 5,800 crimes on Japan's Okinawa Islands since the territory was returned to Japan in 1972, according to police figures cited by protesters rallying against US presence in Japan's southernmost prefecture.

    TOKYO (Sputnik) Approximately 65,000 people took part in a rally on Sunday to protest US military personnel crimes in Okinawa, which became the largest demonstration against US presence Okinawa in 20 years.

    The protesters signed a petition calling for the withdrawal of US marines corps from Okinawa, which contained the figures taken from Japanese police, the Kyodo news agency reported.

    A total of 571 incidents fell under the category of serious crimes, according to the petition.

    In late May, former US Marine Kenneth Franklin Shinzato was arrested in Okinawa on suspicion of stabbing and strangling a 20-year-old Japanese woman near US Kadena Air Base. Rina Shimabukuro disappeared on April 28 and was later found dead in a forest. Franklin has reportedly admitted to raping her and committing the murder.

    In early June, a US servicewoman from the Kadena Air Base injured two people in a reported drunk driving incident.

    Mass protests are regularly staged by the island’s inhabitants over incidents of alleged rape by US armed forces' personnel stationed in Okinawa. The Japanese government has started taking action to address the concerns. In May, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the government is set to create a special interdepartmental commission for preventing crimes committed by US military base personnel.

    Related:

    Special Police Start Patrolling Okinawa to Prevent US Violence
    Mass Protests in Japan Over Okinawa Accidents Reaches Tokyo
    US Airbase Opponents Win Majority in Japan’s Okinawa Parliament Polls
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    crimes, Okinawa military base, Japan, United States
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