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No Fourth of July fireworks at U.S. bases in Japan after Okinawa rape

| Thursday, June 23, 2016, 11:00 p.m.

TOKYO — There will be no Fourth of July fireworks for American troops in Japan this year because of restrictions imposed after a former Marine was accused of raping and murdering a woman on Okinawa.

U.S. Forces Japan said Thursday that “no U.S. installations in Japan will celebrate the Fourth of July holiday with fireworks displays or concerts” to demonstrate respect for Okinawan residents.

The killing of the woman, whose body was found in May, triggered outrage on the southern Japanese island, where tensions frequently rise over crime linked to U.S. military bases there.

The suspect, a U.S. military contractor, is charged with abandoning the woman's body, and murder and rape charges are pending.

Maj. John Severns, deputy director of public affairs at U.S. Forces Japan, said in an email that barbecues, sporting events and other community activities are still being planned at bases in the country to share the traditions for celebrating American independence with Japanese neighbors.

The murder case has rekindled anger in Okinawa over the burden of the heavy American troop presence there.

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