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U.S. Marine Accused of Rape in Japan

January 16, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ A U.S. Marine has been arrested and accused of trying to rape a Japanese woman at a disco on the Japanese island of Okinawa, police said.

Lance Cpl. Oswald McDonald, 29, dragged the woman into a corner of the disco Friday and attempted to sexually assault her, a spokesman for the Okinawa Prefectural police said.

The woman resisted and the soldier backed off without physically injuring her, said the spokesman, who only identified himself by his last name, Shimada.

The U.S. Marines confirmed the arrest on Friday, but gave no further details. Officials could not immediately provide McDonald’s hometown.

The arrest in Okinawa city came just months after the U.S. military lifted a four-year curfew barring service members from the city center. The ban, lifted in October, was meant to curtail fights and drunkenness.

The curfew was imposed in October 1995, a month after three U.S. servicemen raped a 12-year-old Okinawan schoolgirl on another part of the island. The crime triggered protests against the U.S. military presence.

Okinawans have long complained about crime and congestion linked to the U.S. bases. About two-thirds of the 47,000 U.S. troops in Japan are in Okinawa, 1,000 miles southwest of Tokyo.

McDonald is based at Futenma Air Station. The Japanese government recently endorsed a plan to move the station’s heliport to a less crowded part of Okinawa as part of a U.S.-Japanese agreement to reduce tensions on the island.

Update hourly