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U.S. Marine held in new Okinawa rape case

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(CNN) -- The U.S. Marine Corps held a 21-year-old lance corporal Thursday on allegations that he raped a 19-year-old woman on the Japanese island of Okinawa, Marine Corps and Okinawa police officials said.

In a statement, the Marines said U.S. military officials were fully cooperating with Japanese authorities in the investigation of an alleged rape that reportedly took place May 25 in the town of Kin.

The statement said U.S. military law enforcement authorities immediately notified the local police upon learning of the allegations.

"U.S. forces have worked closely with local law enforcement authorities since the allegations were first made," the statement said. "The service member in question has cooperated with U.S. and Japanese officials and is currently in U.S. custody."

Tensions between Okinawans and the U.S. troops stationed on the island have run deep.

In 2002, a U.S. staff sergeant in the Air Force was convicted of raping a Japanese woman in a parking lot outside a popular nightclub in Okinawa. Intense media coverage of the case brought pressure on the Japanese government to review its agreement with the United States about handling criminal cases in Japan involving the U.S. military.

The rape of a 12-year-old schoolgirl by three American servicemen in 1995 sparked some of the worst anti-U.S. military demonstrations seen in Japan in decades.

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