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Japan says US sailor kills woman, self on Okinawa

Okinawa police said the bodies of a U.S. Navy sailor and a Japanese woman were found in a unit of this apartment building around 7:30 a.m. Saturday, April 13, 2019.

AYA ICHIHASHI/STARS AND STRIPES

By AYA ICHIHASHI | STARS AND STRIPES Published: April 13, 2019

CHATAN, Okinawa — A U.S. sailor fatally stabbed a Japanese woman and then killed himself on Okinawa, Japanese officials said.

The two were found dead Saturday morning inside a six-story apartment building in the Kuwae district of Chatan, according to an Okinawa Prefectural Police spokesman.

The woman’s child was present when the incident occurred and called a relative, who then called police at 7:26 a.m., the spokesman said.

The sailor, 31, whose identity has not been released, was attached to the III Marine Division, according to the III Marine Expeditionary Force.

The sailor and the woman, who was in her 40s, were apparently in a relationship, the Okinawa police spokesman said.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is supporting the Okinawa police investigation, said III MEF spokesman 1st Lt. David Mancilla.

"We are aware of an incident resulting in the death of an apparent U.S. Navy Sailor with III Marine Division and a resident of Okinawa,” he said in an email. “This is an absolute tragedy and we are fully committed to supporting the investigation into the incident.”

Japan’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Takeo Akiba telephoned U.S. Ambassador to Japan William Hagerty, asking for cooperation with the investigation and efforts to prevent a recurrence, and expressed “extreme regrets,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Stars and Stripes reporter Matthew M. Burke and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ichihashi.aya@stripes.com

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