US to limit scope of civilian workers with immunity on bases in Japan
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US to limit scope of civilian workers with immunity on bases in Japan

THE scope of civilian workers given immunity from prosecution for working in American military bases in Japan will be limited under the latest bilateral agreement.

This agreement between Japan and the U.S. is seen as a step towards addressing Okinawa’s outrage over a recent murder case on the island involving a Marine-turned-contractor.

The two governments said on Tuesday that civilians covered by the Status of Forces Agreement will be limited to those who meet more specific criteria than the current definition.

Education and monitoring of American troops and base workers will be enhanced to ensure their law-abiding commitment.

The May arrest of a Kadena Air Base contractor, accused of murdering and raping a 20-year-old local woman has sparked renewed outrage on Okinawa, where resentment has been simmering over its heavy U.S. troop presence and crime linked to the bases.

SEE ALSO: Japan: Over 50,000 gather to protest US military presence in Okinawa

Yesterday, an American serviceman was arrested by Japanese police for alleged drunken driving on Okinawa.

The arrest comes just days after the lifting of an off-base drinking ban imposed after Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, a U.S. military contractor and former marine, admitted to raping and murdering Rina Shimabukuro.

Police arrested Tech Sgt. Christopher Platte, 27, stationed at Kadena Air Base on the southern island, Monday after a police officer spotted him driving erratically. Police said a breath test showed his blood-alcohol level exceeding the legal limit.

The U.S. military lifted the drinking ban on June 28. Japan’s government protested to the U.S. Embassy over the arrest.

The arrest is the latest in a string of incidents involving U.S. servicemen in Okinawa.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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