Woman Arrested Near US Base in Okinawa for Biting Police Officer
On Thursday, Japanese authorities arrested a woman and charged her with causing bodily injury and obstructing a police officer after biting an officer outside of US Marine Corps Base Camp Schwab in Okinawa.
The woman was arrested around 9:25 a.m. local time, and was one of three arrests made near US military bases in Okinawa that day, Stars and Stripes reports.
A Nago prefectural police spokesman said the officer was attempting to stop the woman from running to the highway near one of the base’s gates when she bit the officer on the arm, leaving bite marks.
Authorities have not released information on the woman, and it is not yet clear whether she belongs to protests groups that often demonstrate against the US military’s presence on Okinawa. Two people who ignored police warnings and crossed property lines at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and at Schwab were also arrested that day.
The Act on Special Measures Concerning Criminal Cases, a provision under a bilateral security treaty, prohibits anyone entering US military installations without permission.
According to police, the cases went to the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Naha District on Friday.
Okinawa houses about 50,000 Defense Department employees, troops and families, and sees nearly daily protests against the American presence on the island, which holds strategic value for Washington due to its close proximity to North Korea and China.
Sometimes these demonstrations grow quite large, with one June 2016 rally growing to an estimated 65.000 people. The protesters held placards that read, "Marines, get out," and "Our rage beyond the bounds."
In February it was announced that the Japanese government was going to pay $265.9 million to Okinawa residents living near the Kadena Air Base in an aircraft noise settlement.
To lighten the island’s load, bases have recently been consolidated and Marines have been shipped to Guam and a number of other US bases.