US Charge d'Affaires in Tokyo Joseph Donovan was summoned on Tuesday by the Japanese Foreign Ministry to discuss the alleged rape of a teen-aged girl in Okinawa by an American Marine, the State Department said.
Donovan "was summoned in and he met with Japan's vice foreign minister," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters without providing any details.
The high-level diplomatic meeting occurred when Japanese officials have voiced outrage over the alleged rape and warned the incident will spur opposition to US troops inside the country.
Prior to the meeting, McCormack said, US diplomats in Tokyo took the initiative to meet Monday with Japanese officials to express "deep regret for this incident" and offer to cooperate fully in the case.
In addition, Washington might be sending a senior delegation to Okinawa to try to ease anger over the incident, according to the spokesman.
"Rape is a horrendous crime and we take these allegations very seriously," McCormack said.
It was reported that a 38-year-old US Marine has been accused of attacking the Japanese girl in a parked car Sunday night in Okinawa. The American soldier has not been charged.
Three American servicemen raped a 12-year-old girl in 1995. The United States deploys more than 40,000 troops in Japan under an alliance treaty.
(Xinhua News Agency February 13, 2008)