U.S. Defense Department Regrets Sexual Assault Cases in Okinawa

World

Washington, July 2 (Jiji Press)--The U.S. Defense Department expressed its regret Tuesday over sexual assault cases involving U.S. servicemen stationed in Okinawa Prefecture, southern Japan.

"We are deeply troubled by the severity of the allegations and we regret the anxiety this has caused," Pentagon spokesman Patrick Ryder said in a press briefing. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is "of course tracking this closely," he said.

"Japan is one of our closest allies, and so we will continue to do everything we can to keep the lines of communication open on this," Ryder said.

He added that "the alleged behavior of those members does not reflect the core values of the U.S. military nor does it represent the conduct of the overwhelming majority of Japan-based personnel that we have forward deployed."

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