June 2, 2006

US sailor gets life for Japan murder

TOKYO (Reuters) - A U.S. sailor was sentenced to life in
prison on Friday for killing a 56-year-old Japanese woman in
Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, earlier this year, a court official

Seaman William Reese, 22, who had been based aboard the USS
Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier, was convicted by a court in the
port city of Yokohama of robbing Yoshie Sato and beating her to
death on January 3.

The incident came at an awkward time in U.S.-Japan
relations, as Tokyo and Washington tried to hammer out a deal
to reorganize U.S. bases in Japan in an effort to make the U.S.
military more flexible.

The two sides have agreed a basic deal, under which 8,000
U.S. Marines will be relocated from the southern Japanese
island of Okinawa to Guam, and the Marines' base at Futenma on
the island will be shifted to a less heavily populated area.

Nearly 50,000 U.S. military personnel are stationed in
Japan under the allies' bilateral security treaty, and issues
of crime, pollution and noise associated with the U.S. bases
make them highly unpopular with local communities.

U.S. military officials in Japan said they had not been
informed of the sentence.