Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confronted President Barack Obama about a former U.S. Marine suspected of killing of a young Japanese woman in Okinawa.
Police say that on May 21, Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, a 32-year-old former Marine, confessed to stabbing and strangling a 20-year-old office worker. The victim's body was found in a wooded area not far from a U.S. air base where Shinzato works as a civilian employee, according to USA Today.
During a joint press conference with Obama at his side, Abe denounced the crime said the U.S. should do more to prevent future crimes by American military members and employees.
"I firmly launched a protest as the Japanese prime minister in regards to the most recent case in Okinawa," Abe said at the beginning of the press conference, according to ABC News. "The entire time for the small group discussion was spent on the specific case in Okinawa, and I feel profound resentment for this self-centered and despicable crime."
“I have no words to express my feelings, given how her family must feel,” Abe said after Shinzato's arrest, according to USA Today. “We will demand that the U.S. side take strict measures to prevent something like this from happening again.”
During the press conference with Abe, Obama said the United States is "appalled by any violent crime that may have been committed by any U.S. personnel or U.S. contractor."
"We consider it inexcusable, and we are committed to do anything we can to prevent any crimes like this from taking place," Obama said. "We want to see a crime like this prosecuted here in the same way that we would feel horrified and want to provide a sense of justice to a victim's family back in the United States."
Abe is a strong supporter of the U.S. military presence in Japan, according to the Guardian. But the murder has thrown a political wrench into plans to build another base in Okinawa, a plan supported by Tokyo and Washington but opposed by the Okinawa governor and environmental activists, who claim construction of the base will ruin local ecosystems.