US airman arrested in Okinawa

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iol pic wld okinawa protest AFP File photo: Civic group members attend a protest over the alleged rape of a local woman by two US servicemen in Okinawa, in front of the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo.

Okinawa - Japanese police said on Monday they have detained a US airman in Okinawa for allegedly causing a car accident while driving drunk, the latest in a series of arrests of American servicemen in the country.

Two drunken US sailors were arrested for trespassing in January after allegedly breaking a night-time curfew imposed in 2012 following the gang-rape of a Japanese woman.

Eric Simmons, 41, who is stationed at the US Air Force's Kadena base in central Okinawa, allegedly drove a car under the influence of alcohol late Sunday and caused a pileup, an Okinawa police spokesman said.

No one was injured.

The US military imposed a curfew between 11.00pm and 5.00am on all its servicemen in Japan after two sailors were arrested on charges of raping a woman in Okinawa, a southern island chain, last October.

The drunk-driving suspect, who lives outside the base, claimed he was on his way to work and not in breach of the curfew, local media reported.

Despite the curfew, misconduct involving US servicemen has continued to fuel anti-US sentiment in communities with bases. Okinawa hosts more than half of the 47 000 US military personnel in Japan. - AFP

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