US sailor ‘killed Japanese woman’ in murder-suicide, officials say

Woman’s child raises alarm for help after pair die in Okinawa building

Zamira Rahim
Sunday 14 April 2019 00:53
A military cargo plane landing at the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Base in Okinawa
A military cargo plane landing at the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Base in Okinawa

A US navy officer has stabbed a Japanese woman to death, before killing himself.

Japan‘s foreign ministry said the murder-suicide took place in a flat in Okinawa on Saturday.

The woman’s child was in the home when the deaths occurred and contacted a relative, who in turn called the police at around 7am, a police spokesperson said.

The 31-year-old man and the woman, who was in her 40s, are believed to have been in a relationship, according to Stars and Stripes.

The US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is working with local police on the investigation into the deaths.

“This is an absolute tragedy and we are fully committed to supporting the investigation,” a spokesperson for US Forces Japan said in a statement.

Takeo Akiba, Japan’s vice minister of foreign affairs, has spoken with William Hagerty, the US ambassador to Japan.

He asked for cooperation with the investigation and with efforts to prevent similar deaths, Japan’s foreign ministry said.

Okinawa, which takes up less than one per cent of Japan, hosts around half of 54,000 US troops stationed in Japan.

The prefecture is home to 64 per cent of the land used by US air bases in Japan, which operate due to a bilateral security treaty between the two countries.

There is growing resentment about the presence of US troops in the southwestern Japanese region.

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People there have long complained about crime, noise and the destruction of the environment.

A plan to relocate a Marine Corps air station called Futenma to a less populated part of Okinawa has also been contentious. Denny Tamaki, elected Okinawa’s governor in October, is pushing to have the base moved off the island.

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Additional reporting by agencies

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