On January 5, 2022, a vehicle leaves the US Marine Corps Camp Hansen in Kin, Okinawa prefecture, southern Japan. TOKYO - Local prosecutors said on Tuesday that a 22-year-old US marine was indicted last December for sexual assault on a woman in Japan's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa.
The latest indictment brings to light a steady slew of sexual and other crimes committed in Okinawa over the past several years by the US military and related personnel.
Lance Corporal Jordan Begaye was alleged to have assaulted the woman off base in October, according to the indictment and investigators. His victim had no known connections with him.
Begaye was indicted on December 23, but the public was not notified of the case due to nature and out of respect for the woman's privacy, the prosecutors said.
They did not make public whether the alleged attacker admitted to the charge or not, according to local accounts.
The police did not arrest Begaye at the scene of the alleged attack as he fled to the victim's neighbors saying she needed help and they had called the police, local media said.
The US military handed over the alleged assailant to Japanese authorities after the Dec 23 indictment, in line with the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement.
Prior to that, the case was investigated with cooperation from the US side, and the case was referred to prosecutors on December 3, with the alleged attacker suspected of indecent assault resulting in injury.
Okinawa hosts the vast majority of Japan's US bases, yet the tiny subtropical island accounts for just a fraction of Japan's landmass.
There have been rising anti-US sentiment on the island and vociferous calls for its decades of occupation by US forces, including murder and rape by US military-linked personnel, as well as a long list of US military-related accidents.