Tags: kenneth franklin shinzato | sentenced | japan | murder

Kenneth Franklin Shinzato Sentenced to Life for Japan Rape, Murder

Image: Kenneth Franklin Shinzato Sentenced to Life for Japan Rape, Murder

Policemen escort US citizen and former US Marine Kenneth Franklin Shinzato (C) to the prosecutor's office at Uruma Police Station in Uruma, Okinawa, prefecture, on May 21, 2016. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Friday, 01 December 2017 12:00 PM

Kenneth Franklin Shinzato was sentenced to life in prison on Friday for the rape and murder of a 20-year-old Japanese woman, USA Today reported.

The 33-year-old former U.S. Marine stood accused of raping Rina Shimabukuro, hitting her in the head with a club and fatally stabbing her before abandoning her body in April last year.

Shinzato, who worked at Kadena Air Base at the time, admitted to raping the 20-year-old Okinawa woman, which led to her death, and to abandoning her body that was discovered three weeks later in a forest near Onna, USA Today said.

He denied the charges of murder.

According to The New York Times, the incident ignited widespread anger among people on Okinawa, shaking an already volatile situation surrounding the stationing of about 47,000 American troops on the island.

The case also sparked outrage among government officials, who raised the case during a visit by then-President Barack Obama last year for a Group of 7 summit meeting.

There has been a strong U.S. military presence in Japan since World War II, BBC said, and their presence has been met with increasing resentment from community members.

The latest incident involving Shinzato only serves to stoke the fire and convey a message that the U.S. troops are a threat to locals.

Adding to tensions is the fact that it is not the first assault by a military member to occur in Japan.

BBC noted that in 1995, a 12-year-old girl was raped by three U.S. service personnel.

The incident sparked massive protests, with 50,000 Okinawans taking to the streets in anger.

"We Okinawans are rather gentle people," said one protester at the time, per Timeline. "But this rape, this time…we feel we cannot put up with any more."

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Kenneth Franklin Shinzato was sentenced to life in prison on Friday for the rape and murder of a 20-year-old Japanese woman.
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