Tokyo (Agencies): Japanese prosecutors have formally charged a US Air Force member with the alleged kidnapping and rape of an underage girl shortly before Christmas last year. Okinawa police confirmed the charges to CNN on Wednesday.

Brennon R. E. Washington, 25, was indicted on March 27 for “non-consensual sexual intercourse” and “indecent kidnapping,” according to a court spokesperson in Naha, Okinawa’s capital. The US military promptly handed Washington over to Japanese authorities on the same day.

After being released on bail, Washington was transferred to the Kadena US Air Base in Okinawa for custody. His trial is scheduled to begin on July 12, as confirmed by the Naha District Court spokesperson.

While the court does not currently have details about the airman’s legal representation, this prosecution occurs amid deepening military ties between Washington and Tokyo. Geopolitical tensions with China and North Korea further underscore the significance of this case.

Okinawa, home to one of the largest US foreign military bases, has a history of criminal incidents involving US personnel. The alleged rape could exacerbate tensions with residents who have long opposed the presence of American troops and weaponry on the island.

Additionally, the controversial V-22 Ospreys—tiltrotor military aircraft—have sparked anger and protests in Okinawa due to recent crashes and noise complaints.

Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki expressed strong regret over the allegations of rape and kidnapping, emphasizing the need to “strongly protest against the US military and other related organizations.” His office is prepared to take a firm stance in addressing the situation.

Washington, the indicted serviceman, was stationed with the 18 Logistics Readiness Squadron at the Kadena Air Base in Japan, according to the US Air Force. First Lt. Alvin G. Nelson III, an 18th Wing Spokesperson, confirmed the sexual assault allegation involving a Japanese citizen to CNN on Wednesday.

The charges against the US Air Force member in Okinawa highlight the complex dynamics of military presence and local communities. As the trial unfolds, it remains a critical issue for both Japan and the United States.

By Media

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