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Japan says US serviceman kills woman, self in Okinawa



A U.S. serviceman fatally stabbed A Japanese woman and then killed in Okinawa on Saturday, the Japanese Foreign Ministry said, amid growing controversy over American troops in southwestern Japan.

U.S. Forces Japan said that the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) was working with local police to look at the deaths of a Navy sailor assigned to a Marine unit and a resident of Okinawa. "This is an absolute tragedy and we are fully committed to supporting the investigation," it said in a statement, according to reports on the crime of the Associated Press.

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AP said Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Takeo Akiba telephoned US Ambassador William Hagerty, asking for cooperation with both the inquiry and efforts to prevent recurrence.

Although Okinawa accounts for less than 1

percent of Japan's land space, AP said it hosts about half of the 54,000 American troops deployed in Japan, and is home to 64 percent of the land used by the US bases in the country.

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People have long complained about crime, noise and the destruction of the environment as a consequence of military presence.

A plan The transfer of a Marine Corps air station called Futenma to a less populated part of Okinawa has also been controversial, AP said, and Denny Tamaki, Okinawa's governor, pushing to have the base moved off the island altogether.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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