A US Marine was arrested on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old Japanese girl in the southern Japanese prefecture of Okinawa, police said on Monday, an incident that could strain ties between the two security allies.
A spokesman for the Okinawa Prefecture police said the 38-year-old Marine was suspected of raping the schoolgirl on Sunday and that the two were riding in a car at the time.
Further details were under investigation, he added.
Japan is home to some 50,000 US troops, the bulk of them in Okinawa, where many residents have long resented bearing what they see as an unfair burden for maintaining the US-Japan security alliance, a pillar of Japan's post-war diplomacy.
In 1995, the rape of a Japanese schoolgirl by three US servicemen sparked huge protests in the island prefecture.
US military officials were not immediately available for comment. A spokesman for the US embassy in Japan said he was aware that an incident was under investigation.
"We really don't have enough facts to draw any conclusions," the spokesman added.