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Father of slain Okinawa woman calls for removal of U.S. military bases

People pray for the soul of a 20-year-old woman at a site where her body was found in May last year, in this picture taken in the village of Onna, Okinawa Prefecture, on April 28, 2017. (Mainichi)

URUMA, Okinawa -- The father of a murdered woman whose killing a year ago led to the arrest of a former U.S. Marine has released a message calling for the removal of U.S. military bases from the island prefecture.

April 28 marked one year since the murder of the 20-year-old woman, who had lived in Uruma. "It's been a year since the incident, but nothing has changed regarding my thoughts for my daughter," the father, whose name is being withheld, said in his message released to the media through an attorney on April 27.

Referring to heinous crimes committed by U.S. military personnel in the prefecture, he wrote, "Those incidents occur because Okinawa hosts U.S. military bases. I want the bases to be removed without further delay, which is the wish of many Okinawa residents as well."

He continued, "Every day I put my hands together thinking about my daughter and pray for the repose of her soul. What we want to tell our daughter now is that we are sorry for the pain and suffering she went through, but that we want her to rest in peace now."

The former Marine, Kenneth Franklin Shinzato, has been indicted over the murder, but there is no prospect of his trial being initiated anytime soon.

"I have nothing to say to the defendant. We, the bereaved family, can never forgive him. We tolerate or trust no excuses from him. As the defendant is not a human, we want him to be given capital punishment," the father said.

Still today, there are many people who visit the site where the victim's body was found in the prefectural village of Onna.

"We have gone through a lot over the past year. We find solace in the warmth of everyone," the father wrote in gratitude to support and sympathy shown by people from within and outside the prefecture. "Our sorrow for losing our daughter will never disappear, but our hearts will always be with her and we will continue to pray for the repose of her soul."

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