The U.S. military in Okinawa has restricted its troops to their home bases for a "Day of Reflection" today after a series of crimes by American soldiers, including the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl that has roiled relations with the islanders.
Japanese and U.S. officials also announced new measures to be more selective of military personnel allowed to leave their bases and to have joint Japanese-American police patrols.
Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said 44,963 U.S. military servicemen and related personnel live in Okinawa and 10,748 of them reside off base.
The Japanese government will also provide support to local authorities should they feel the need to install surveillance cameras in public places in order to ensure security.
"Will these measures stop any future crimes by U.S. military personnel? I cannot say they will with certainty," Komura said. "We will have to keep working on those measures on a long-term basis to prevent any recurrences."
Japanese Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba also said today that further crimes committed by U.S. troops could hurt the alliance between the United States and Japan. Ishiba also called for concrete and tighter prevention plans by the United States, including toughening the criteria for the military personnel living off base.
The arrest of a 38-year-old U.S. Marine Feb. 11 for the alleged rape of a 14-year-old junior high school student sparked protests and demands for tighter discipline on U.S. military personnel.
Staff Sgt. Tyrone Luther Hadnott has been questioned by Japanese authorities, but not charged with a crime.
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda condemned the alleged incident as "unforgivable."
U.S. officials have expressed regrets and concern about the series of incidents. Thomas Schieffer, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, visited Okinawa two days after Hadnott's arrest and offered an apology.
"It is truly regrettable that an incident like this could have occurred, and my heart goes out to this young girl, to her family and to all of the people affected by this," Schieffer said in a statement to the governor and people of the prefecture. Schieffer also handed the governor of Okinawa a letter to the girl and her family.
Christopher Hill, the U.S. assistant secretary of state, said Thursday, "From my vantage point, I just want to make very clear the great regret that we feel about this, the concern that we feel for the Okinawan people and our desire that our officials in this country … that they do all they can to address the measures to try and prevent such incidents in the future."
The Okinawa Prefectural Police told ABC News that the prosecutors are likely to reach a decision on whether or not to prosecute Hadnott by early March. Hadnott admitted kissing and hugging the girl, but denied the rape allegation.
Two more arrests were made within one week of Hadnott's arrest.
On Monday, 21-year-old Cpl. Shawn Cody Jake was arrested after he was found sleeping on a sofa at a private residence in Nago, central Okinawa Island.
Jake reportedly told police, who arrived at the house after receiving a call from a 54-year-old woman who lives there, that he was intoxicated and did not remember how he'd ended up at the house.
Marine Cpl. Tony Alexander Garcia, 22, was arrested on drunken driving charges Sunday.
Another allegation surfaced this week about a member of the U.S. Army raping a Filipino woman at a hotel in Okinawa City.
Ryuki Takamine of the Okinawa Prefectural Police Department told ABC News the department received a report by the victim and is looking into the matter.
"No arrest has been made but we have been talking to the victim," Takamine said. The victim remains hospitalized and Takamine refused to elaborate on the nature of the injury or the condition of the victim.
Master Sgt. Terence R. Peck of the U.S. Forces Japan Public Affairs Office said the U.S. military is "aware of the allegation and is taking it very seriously."
Amid severe criticism from Japanese, the U.S. military started to restrict its personnel in Okinawa to bases, workplaces or off-base homes except for work, worship, school or medical appointments.
The order, "a period of reflection" that took effect Wednesday, is said to be in place indefinitely.
Today, U.S. bases across Japan observed a "Day of Reflection," where military personnel attended lectures and held discussions on issues such as professionalism, core military values, sexual harassment and sexual assaults.
"I did not feel anything special or reflective about today," said Tetsuei Tamayose, a 73-year-old Okinawan who lives in Naha City. "You cannot just wing something like that in a hurry. It does not mean anything."
Tamayose was one of the organizers of a rally in 1995, when three U.S. servicemen kidnapped and raped a 12-year-old Japanese girl in Okinawa.
"Boy, did I get a flashback of that time," said Tamayose, the head of Okinawa Prefectural Liaison Council for Development of Kodomo-kai (children's association). "I certainly did not expect something as horrible as that to happen again in our community. What are they thinking?"
Local organizations have held several protests outside the U.S. bases in Okinawa.
Hideaki Okuno of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly said his office has been hearing from different groups wanting to organize another big rally.
"About 85,000 people showed up at the rally in 1995," said Okuno. "We are not certain whether there will be a rally at this point, but locals are talking about the possibility of one."
Tamayose said children in his neighborhood are fearful of U.S. servicemen.
"I have spoken to some junior high school girls. They said they do not want to walk near the military people anymore," Tamayose said. "I heard the suspect said he did not know the girl was a junior high school student. Does that mean if the girl was of an adult age, his conduct somehow could have been justified? As far as I know, the presence of the U.S. military has never brought peace to Okinawa. So long as we have their presence, there is always a dark cloud over our heads."