100s march in Tokyo against US military presence, mark Okinawa murder
Hundreds of Japanese protesters have staged a rally in Tokyo against the US military presence in their country, as they mark the first anniversary of the murder of a local woman by a US Marine.
Protesters marched on the streets of the Japanese capital on Saturday, calling for the removal of US military bases from the island prefecture of Okinawa.
The demonstration also marked the murder of Rina Shimabukuro by a US Marine in Okinawa in April 2016, when the 20-year-old victim, who worked at the base, was raped, struck in the head, and stabbed on her way back home.
US Marine Kenneth Franklin Gadson, 32, later admitted to the murder. The case triggered mass protests across Japan.
More than half of the 47,000 US military forces in Japan are stationed in Okinawa.
Okinawa has become known as a source of enduring concern for the Japanese people. Pacifist inclinations as well as security and safety concerns have prompted the Japanese to protest against the US military presence in Japan from time to time.
Multiple cases of misconduct by US forces have also raised anti-American sentiment among the islanders.
Back in 2013, two American sailors admitted to raping a woman in Okinawa in the previous year in a case that sparked massive protests.
In 1995, the abduction and rape of a 12-year-old girl by three US servicemen also triggered huge protests, prompting Washington to pledge efforts to strengthen troop discipline to prevent such crimes and reduce US footprint on the island.