Skip to main content

2 U.S. sailors indicted on charges of raping Japanese woman on Okinawa

By Junko Ogura, CNN
updated 6:39 PM EST, Tue November 6, 2012
Civic groups in Tokyo protest the alleged rape of a Japanese woman by two U.S. servicemen on October 20.
Civic groups in Tokyo protest the alleged rape of a Japanese woman by two U.S. servicemen on October 20.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Two suspects are accused of raping a Japanese woman and injuring her neck
  • The case has drawn outrage from Japanese officials and Okinawa residents
  • The issue of violent crimes, especially rapes, by U.S. troops in Japan has divided the nations

Tokyo (CNN) -- Japanese prosecutors have indicted two American sailors on charges that they raped a Japanese woman on the island of Okinawa last month, a case that has deepened tensions between local residents and the U.S. military.

The arrest of the two suspects prompted outraged reactions from Japanese officials and resulted in the imposition of a curfew by the U.S. military on its troops in Japan.

The two suspects, both from a base in Fort Worth, Texas, were indicted by Naha District Court on Tuesday afternoon, according to a statement from the public affairs office of the U.S. Commander, Naval Forces Japan.

2008: Japanese to U.S.: Get out

They were arrested last month on Okinawa, which lies south of the main Japanese islands, on allegations that they raped a woman in the early hours of October 16, leaving her with an injury to her neck. They were staying at a U.S. Air Force base on Okinawa while in transit.

According to the Navy statement, Aviation Electrician's Mate Skyler Dozierwalker faces a charge of rape by group resulting in injury, and Aviation Machinist's Mate Airman Christopher Browning faces a charge of rape by group resulting in injury, as well as a charge of robbery. Both men are 23 years old.

The Okinawa prosecutors' office declined to disclose information about the indictment by telephone and didn't provide a statement.

The issue of violent crimes by U.S. troops in Japan has divided the two countries for decades. It came to a peak in 1995 when a U.S. sailor and two U.S. Marines were convicted of raping a 12-year-old girl. Tens of thousands of Okinawans took to the streets at the time demanding that the United States leave the island.

Relations between the U.S. military and the people of Okinawa have also been strained in recent months over the U.S. Marine Corps' deployment of MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft to a base on the island. Some Okinawa residents are concerned because the Osprey has had a reputation for crashing.

The Okinawan community has long been against the presence of the U.S. military, which recently announced that thousands of Marines will be moved to a base in Guam.

The rape charges against the two U.S. sailors come just months after a U.S. Marine was arrested over accusations he assaulted and molested a woman in Naha, the capital of Okinawa.

And the situation was compounded last week by allegations that a U.S. airman broke into a family's home on the island and assaulted a teenage boy before jumping off a third-floor balcony.

Okinawa police are investigating the incident, which appears to have taken place during the hours when the U.S. military curfew is supposed to be in effect.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 2:18 AM EST, Fri February 8, 2013
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
ADVERTISEMENT