The marine’s arrest on Feb. 11 incited protests on Okinawa, where there are raw memories of a 1995 rape of a 12-year-old girl by three American servicemen.
The accused marine in this case, Staff Sgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott, 38, was returned to Marine custody after Japanese prosecutors dropped the rape charges. Sergeant Hadnott had denied the charges, saying that he only kissed the girl as he gave her a ride home.
It was unclear why she retracted her story. Japanese authorities seemed to suggest that she had decided against legal action, possibly to avoid the glare of public attention. Some media commentators and blogs had begun to question why the girl was in a car with the marine.