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Rape case leads to U.S. troops restriction in Japan

  • Story Highlights
  • Restrictions limit troops to bases, places of work or off-base housing
  • Marine was arrested last week, accused of raping 14-year-old girl
  • Tensions high after other allegations of less serious crimes by U.S. troops
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TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- American troops and their families stationed in Okinawa have been given new restrictions because of a recent accusation that a 38-year-old U.S. Marine raped a 14-year-old Japanese girl, the U.S. military said.

Japanese protesters shout slogans last week in front of a U.S. camp on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa.

All troops stationed on the southern Japanese island are "indefinitely" confined to their base or their off-base residences for a "period of reflection" as of Wednesday morning, except for work, worship, school or medical appointments, according to a news release from Camp Butler on Okinawa.

"This period of reflection will allow commanders and all service members an opportunity to further review procedures and orders that govern the discipline and conduct of all U.S. service members serving in Okinawa," the release said.

The military did not indicate how long the restrictions, which began at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, would remain in effect.

The military announced earlier this week that it all U.S. troops in Japan would observe a "Day of Reflection emphasizing professionalism and core military values" on Friday.

The incident and arrest of the Marine, Tyrone Luther Hadnott, has stirred emotion in Japan.

The Associated Press reported that the Marine admitted to investigators that he forced the girl down and kissed her, but said he did not rape her.

Japanese leaders have deplored the behavior and accused the U.S. military of lax discipline. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda deplored it as "unforgiveable."

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The U.S. military in Japan also formed a sexual assault prevention task force after the incident, the military said. The episode echoes a similar incident more than a decade ago that strained relations between the United States and Japan.

The assault was reported Sunday night in the Chatan entertainment district on Okinawa, a major hub for U.S. forces in the Pacific. Hadnott is based at Camp Courtney on the island.

More than 40,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Japan, most of them on Okinawa. They were placed there under a security alliance after Japan was defeated in World War II and was forced to renounce its right to a military.

The U.S. military presence has at times bred resentment among locals who have long complained about crime, noise and accidents.

Anti-U.S. sentiments boiled over in 1995 after a 12-year-old Okinawan schoolgirl was gang-raped by three American servicemen. A similar "Day of Reflection" was observed after that incident.

Two years ago, a U.S. civilian military employee was jailed for nine years for raping two women. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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