Clinton Offers Apology in Girl's Rape
Sep. 22, 1995
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ President Clinton expressed regret for the alleged rape of a Japanese schoolgirl by three U.S. servicemen earlier this month, saying the United States will not ignore the incident.
Stressing that the United States has been a ``good partner'' with Japan, Clinton also indicated in a radio interview that he is open to a review of the bilateral agreement on the status of U.S. military personnel in Japan.
``We will first of all make it clear that the United States deeply regrets the incident, that we do not condone any misconduct or any abuse of the Japanese people,'' Clinton said in a Westwood One radio interview with Larry King. ``We think that anybody who violates any laws should be treated accordingly.''
The rape of the 12-year-old girl on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa has dominated headlines and sparked widespread outrage among Okinawans, many of whom resent the presence of U.S. military bases.
``If (the Japanese) think there's any kind of procedures we ought to take to improve things, we obviously are open to that,'' Clinton said.
U.S. Ambassador Walter Mondale agreed Thursday to a request by Japanese Foreign Minister Yohei Kono to ask a panel of legal experts to review the agreement that grants special legal status to American military personnel in Japan during criminal investigations.
Pending that review, Clinton said he wanted the Japanese people to know ``that we are not turning a blind eye to this, that we are outraged, that our heart goes out to them ... and we respect them.''
The three suspects _ Marine Pfc. Rodrico Harp, 21, of Griffin, Ga.; Pfc. Kendrick M. Ledet, 20, of Waycross, Ga., and Navy Seaman Marcus D. Gill, 22, of Woodville, Texas _ are in prison at Camp Hansen, a Marine base on Okinawa.