U.S. Marine indicted on sexual assault charges

NAHA (Jiji Press) — Japanese public prosecutors have indicted a U.S. Marine for allegedly injuring an adult woman while attempting to rape her in Okinawa Prefecture, it was learned Monday.

According to the indictment, filed in December last year, Jordan Begaye, 22, allegedly assaulted the woman in October the same year. The Naha District Public Prosecutors Office has not revealed whether Begaye has admitted to the charges.

The incident occurred outside a U.S. military facility, Okinawa prefectural police sources said. Police arrived at the scene after receiving a report by a resident of the neighborhood that a woman was calling for help, but the suspect had already fled the scene.

The Okinawa police were able to identify Begaye as the suspect with cooperation from the U.S. military’s investigative authorities.

Under the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, the U.S. side is allowed to detain U.S. military personnel and others over crimes committed while not on official business until the Japanese side files charges, if the U.S. side takes them into custody first.

On the recent case, the U.S. side accepted the Okinawa police’s request to question Begaye while he was in U.S. custody. The police then sent papers on him to the prosecutors. The suspect is now in Japanese custody, according to Japanese government sources.

As the reason for having made no announcement on the case, the Okinawa police said that they considered the victim’s privacy.

Speaking at a press conference in Tokyo on the same day, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said that the incident was “unacceptable,” as it caused great concern among local residents.

“The U.S. side is also taking the matter seriously,” the top government spokesman said. “It is our understanding that [the U.S. side] provided [Japanese authorities] with sufficient cooperation during the investigation.”

The Foreign Ministry has urged the U.S. side to strengthen discipline among troops stationed in the Asian nation and to implement preventative measures.