Japan arrests American over Okinawa murder


Japanese police have arrested an American national working at a US military base on the Japanese Okinawa Island on suspicion of murdering a woman.

Kenneth Shinzato, 32, was arrested for reportedly dumping the Japanese woman’s body at a weed-covered area in southern Okinawa, police said in a statement on Thursday.

Police interrogated Shinzato and later found the body at a location he provided.

Police further said that they suspect that Shinzato is responsible for the murder of the victim, identified as 20-year-old Rina Shimabukuro, who had been missing since late April.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe expressed “outrage” at the incident, calling on Washington to take “thorough measures to prevent the recurrence of such events.”

Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on Thursday summoned US Ambassador to Japan Caroline Kennedy to hand her a letter of protest.

“It is extremely regrettable that the very cruel and atrocious case occurred,” Kishida told Kennedy.

Okinawa has become known as the site of enduring tensions between Japan and the US over the American forces deployed there.

Pacifist inclinations as well as security and safety concerns have prompted the Japanese to protest against the deployment.

The base is home to more than half of the about 50,000 American troops based in Japan. Many Okinawans complain about crime and noise connected to the bases.