U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed hope Wednesday that the arrest of a U.S. Marine on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old girl on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa would not damage Washington's relations with Tokyo.
The arrest and a series of other damaging criminal accusations against some of the 50,000 American troops based in Japan have stirred anger at the U.S. military presence, which critics blame for crime, noise and pollution.
"We certainly hope that there will not be lasting effects. It's a long-standing and strong alliance," she said.
"Our concern right now is to see that justice is done, to get to the bottom if it and our concern is for the girl and her family."
Japanese officials have demanded further step by U.S. forces to control their troops. The Americans last week restricted thousands of military personnel and their family indefinitely to bases, homes and work places, and pledged to review anti-sexual assault guidelines and training programs.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008