January 28, 2006

Japanese march to protest crime by US military

TOKYO (Reuters) - Some 800 Japanese calling for an end to
crimes by U.S. military personnel marched in protest on
Saturday, a day after prosecutors indicted a U.S. sailor for
killing and robbing a 56-year-old Japanese woman this month.

The demonstrators gathered in a park near a U.S. naval base
in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo, and later held a march nearby,
Kyodo news agency said.

"Not just in Yokosuka, but in cities with bases such as
Okinawa...there are many incidents and accidents involving U.S.
soldiers," Kyodo quoted Masahiko Goto, a lawyer who took part
in the demonstration, as saying.

Japanese prosecutors on Friday indicted Seaman William
Reese, 21, who was arrested this month on suspicion of killing
and robbing Yoshie Sato on January 3 in Yokosuka.

The incident has come at an awkward time in U.S.-Japanese
relations, as Tokyo and Washington attempt to hammer out a deal
with local Japanese communities to reorganise U.S. bases in
Japan in an attempt to make the U.S. military more flexible.