A Japanese woman has accused two members of the U.S. Navy of raping her on October 16 in Okinawa. The Department of Defense released a statement today saying the U.S. military is cooperating fully with the investigation into the alleged assault. The Okinawa Prefectural Police have jurisdiction over the case, and both sailors were arrested on Tuesday.
The Pentagon statement reads in part:
“The Department of Defense takes all incidents and allegations involving misconduct by service members seriously and pledges its continued cooperation. We deeply regret any grief and trauma the victim may have endured. U.S. Forces Japan is actively engaged with the Government of Japan and the U.S. Navy is fully cooperating with authorities in Okinawa as they continue their investigation. We are also examining and will soon announce a package of measures to ensure responsible behavior and to demonstrate our commitment to maintaining positive relationships with the local communities that host our forces.”
The Stars and Stripes has identified the accused sailors as Seaman Christopher Browning and Petty Officer 3rd Class Skyler Dozierwalker. Both men are 23-years-old.
According to the Stars and Stripes:
The alleged victim, who according to media reports is in her 20s, told police she was walking home from work in central Okinawa between 3:35 a.m. and 4:20 a.m. when the men followed, assaulted and raped her, police said. A U.S. Navy official said the incident allegedly took place in the parking lot of her apartment building.
Okinawa is home to 28,000 U.S. troops - more than half of the 52,000 American service members who are stationed in Japan.