Japanese leaders were fuming today after a drunk US serviceman allegedly broke into a flat and punched a 13-year-old boy on Okinawa.
The 1am attack came as US personnel were supposed to be subject to a night-time curfew after two US sailors were arrested for allegedly raping a woman two weeks ago.
The 24-year-old airman fell from a third-floor window after the assault and police are expected to arrest him when he leaves hospital.
Japanese Defence Minister Satoshi Morimoto called the incident "unforgivable" and lodged a formal complaint with US ambassador John Roos.
After meeting Foreign Ministry officials Mr Roos said: "It is incredibly unfortunate that the purported actions of a few reflect badly on thousands of young men and women here in Japan, away from their homes, that are here for the defence of Japan."
But the alcohol-fuelled assault is just the latest in a long line of US service members' alleged crimes on the island, which have become a running sore with the local population.
The Japanese Communist Party said US forces have officially committed nearly 5,800 crimes since returning Okinawa to Japanese control in 1972, which they said was "the tip of the iceberg" as many more victims are scared to come forward.
US bases on Okinawa take up roughly 18 per cent of the island's land and host more than half of the 52,000 US troops in Japan.
The injured attacker is based at the Kadena Air Base, itself a long-standing source of friction with Okinawa locals.
More than 100,000 people demonstrated in September against the deployment of the Osprey hybrid aircraft on the islands.
The aircraft has been involved in a number of safety failures and many object to it being stationed so close to built-up civilian areas.
It's a particularly thorny issue as the US agreed to shut the base more than a decade ago after mass protests erupted following the rape of a schoolgirl by three US servicemen.
Base officials said they were "fully co-operating" with Okinawa authorities "to ensure justice is served."
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