Start GRASP/Japan Ex-US Marine gets life for murder of Okinawa woman

Ex-US Marine gets life for murder of Okinawa woman


Kenneth Shinzato, a military contractor, was also found guilty of raping the victim and dumping her body.
TOKYO — A Japanese court on Friday convicted a US military contractor of murder and rape charges in the death of an Okinawa woman and sentenced him to life in prison.
The Naha District Court also found Kenneth Shinzato, a former Marine, guilty of abandoning the victim’s body, court officials said. The 20-year-old woman was found in the forest in May, three weeks after she disappeared while taking a walk.
Shinzato was accused of hitting the woman in the head with a club, intending to rape her and stabbing her to death in the neck with a knife. He pleaded guilty to the charges of rape resulting in death and abandoning of the body, but denied murder intent.
Judge Toshihiro Shibata upheld prosecutors’ demand for life imprisonment, saying there was no room for leniency, Kyodo News reported.
The case sparked outrage on the southern Japanese island where residents have long complained about heavy US military presence and crimes linked to them. The anger led to a bilateral pact limiting immunity from Japanese prosecution for civilian workers at American bases.
In a separate development, the government said Japan’s much admired Emperor Akihito is set to abdicate on April 30,2019, at age 85, in the first such departure from the Chrysanthemum Throne in about 200 years.

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