Former US Marine charged with raping, killing 20-year-old Japanese woman

Japanese prosecutors have charged a US military contractor with the murder and rape of a 20-year-old woman on Okinawa.

Local authorities said Kenneth Shinzato, 32, a former Marine, now faces the murder and rape charges in addition to an earlier charge of abandoning the victim’s body.

The woman, Rina Shimabukuro, 20, was found dead in a forest last month, three weeks after she had disappeared while taking a walk.

Japanese prosecutors charged U.S. military contractor Kenneth Shinzato, Thursday with the murder and rape of a 20-year-old woman on Okinawa. Pictured: officials escort Shinzata to the prosecutor's office on May 20

Dead: Rina Shimabukuro (pictured), 20, disappeared on the island of Okinawa, Japan, on April 28. Her body was found when Kenneth Shinzato, 32, a civilian worker at Kadena Air Base, gave police a location

Shimabukuro, a 20-year-old office worker from the city of Uruma, was beaten with a club and stuffed in a car before she was raped and murdered on April 28, allegedly by Shinzato, the Japan Times reported.

Shinzato, who was known as Kenneth Gadson before he took his Japanese wife's last name, allegedly told investigators he drove around looking for a victimShinzato allegedly told investigators he drove around looking for a potential rape victim, the Times reported.

He became a suspect after being spotted on surveillance footage buying salt and sprinkling it on his car, apparently in an attempt to get rid of blood stains, the Times reported.

Shinzato led investigator’s to the location of the victim’s body after he was questioned.

Shinzato is reportedly originally from New York. He joined the U.S. Marines and was deployed to Okinawa, where he met and married a Japanese woman.

He who was known as Kenneth Gadson before he took his Japanese wife’s last name,

The case has sparked outrage on Okinawa, where residents have long complained about its heavy U.S. military presence and crime linked to them.

The subsequent arrest and indictment of a U.S. sailor for alleged drunken driving has added to the anger.

Okinawa has been stuck with a contentious plan to relocate a Marine Corps air station to a less-populated part of the island.

The plan developed after the 1995 rape of a girl by three American servicemen enraged Okinawans, but has made little progress for 20 years due to local protests. Critics want the air station completely removed from the island.

Okinawa Prefecture Police investigate the site where the body of missing Rina Shimabukuro was found a day after U.S military base worker Kenneth Shinzato was arrested on May 20

U.S. installations take up about 18 percent of land on the island, which houses about half of the 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan under a bilateral security agreement.

Tensions were already high after a U.S. seaman, Justin Castellanos, 24, was arrested on suspicion of raping a Japanese tourist to Okinawa in March.

The U.S. military says the crime rate among its ranks in Japan is lower than among the general public.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, which wants Japan to play a bigger military role internationally, backs the Japan-U.S. security alliance.

Source: The DailyMail

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