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Japanese PM Abe outraged after U.S. air base worker arrested for killing

By
Amy R. Connolly
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, angered by the alleged slaying of an Okinawa woman by a former U.S. Marine, vowed to confront President Barack Obama. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, angered by the alleged slaying of an Okinawa woman by a former U.S. Marine, vowed to confront President Barack Obama. Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

TOKYO, May 20 (UPI) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, angered by the slaying of an Okinawa woman allegedly by a former U.S. Marine, vowed to confront President Barack Obama at their planned meeting next week.

Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, 32, was arrested Thursday after he allegedly admitted strangling Rina Shimabukuro, 20, and dumping her body. His arrest touched off protests and heightened tensions about American military presence in Okinawa, where a majority of some 38,000 U.S. troops stationed in Japan are located. Local residents say Americans bring crime and pollution.

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"I am extremely upset. I have no words," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after Shinzato allegedly confessed. "I demand that the United States take strict measures to prevent something like this from happening again."

Tokyo is preparing to host the Group of Seven summit, where issues that include foreign policy, trade and climate change will be discussed. Obama is planning to visit Hiroshima, making him the first sitting U.S. president to visit where a U.S. nuclear bomb ended World War II.

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Friday, Cabinet ministers and governors agreed to demand the United States cooperate in the investigation into Shimabukuro's death, and take actions to make sure such violence does not happen again. U.S. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy pledged to "cooperate fully with the Okinawa police and Japanese government and redouble our efforts to make sure that this never happens again."

Shinzato, a former Marine who works at Kadena Air Base as a civilian, was questioned after his car was seen on security footage in an area where Shimabukuro was thought to have disappeared. Police said her DNA was found in his car. He was arrested on a charge of illegally dumping a body, a common early step in a murder investigation. Japanese police can hold a suspect for weeks before determining formal charges.

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