Japan court sentences United States base worker to life for rape, murder: NHK

Former US base worker gets life in prison for murder of Okinawa woman

Former US base worker gets life in prison for murder of Okinawa woman

A former United States military base employee was sentenced to life in prison on Friday for the rape and murder of a local woman on the southern island of Okinawa, according to local media.

The case sparked public anger and further strengthened anti-base sentiment in Okinawa, which hosts the bulk of US military facilities in Japan and must deal with any crimes committed by their servicemen or related personnel.

Shinzato, a former Marine from 2007 to 2014, was on the base working as a civilian contractor when he allegedly raped and murdered Rina Shimabukuro and abandoned her body in a village.

According to the indictment, Shinzato attacked the woman for the objective of raping her on a road in Uruma at around 10 p.m. on April 28, 2016.

Presiding Judge Toshihiro Shibata read out the guilty verdict and the sentence handed to Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, 33, in the lay judge trial at the Naha District Court. She was discovered in a forest, three weeks after disappearing while taking a walk.

Shinzato pleaded guilty to rape resulting in death and abandoning the body but did not plead guilty to murder.

Police in Potsdam, Germany evacuate Christmas market, investigate suspicious object
Germany is on high alert for potential terrorist attacks after last year's deadly attack on a Christmas market in Berlin . Brandenburg police spokesman Thorsten Herbst said a suspicious package was delivered to a pharmacy in Potsdam .

At the time of the crime, Shinzato was a civilian hired to do Internet-related work at the U.S. Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture.

The killing, which drew the attention of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, overshadowed Barack Obama's trip to the country a year ago, during which he visited Hiroshima.

A spate of crimes committed by U.S. servicemen against local citizens has worsened the tension.

Okinawa is home to about half the 50,000 American troops based in Japan.

Okinawa hosts around 50,000 US nationals, including 30,000 military personnel and civilians employed at the bases. A breath test showed he was up to three times over the legal limit for alcohol, Reuters reported. The U.S. military responded by imposing a drinking ban for personnel in Japan on or off base.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.