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U.S. Forces in Okinawa Hold Month of Mourning for Murdered Japanese Woman

TOKYO — The U.S. military on Saturday announced a 30-day period of mourning at its bases on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa, where the killing of a woman has reignited resentment of the heavy U.S. military presence in the region.

A 32-year-old American civilian working at a U.S. military base in Okinawa was arrested this month for dumping the body of the 20-year-old Japanese woman, a procedural step in murder cases.

Image: U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the Okinawa Area Cooordinator and Commanding General of III Marine Expeditionary Force Commander, offers a silent prayer for a murdered Japanese woman during a press conference at Camp Foster in Okinawa on Saturday. JIJI PRESS / AFP - Getty Images

The attack stoked anger in Japan, prompting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to protest about the killing during talks with U.S. President Barack Obama ahead of the Group of Seven summit in central Japan.

Many associate the bases with crime. The rape of a Japanese schoolgirl by U.S. military personnel in 1995 sparked huge anti-base demonstrations.

A senior U.S. military official told reporters all festivals, celebrations and music concerts at U.S. military bases would be postponed during the 30-day period which began on Friday.

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Media said alcohol consumption outside bases would be prohibited among military personnel and their families along with civilians employed by the military, while they would also be required to observe a midnight curfew.

The U.S. military was not immediately available to comment on the details of the restrictions.

"There are no words in the English language that can adequately convey our level of shock, pain and grief at the loss of life of this innocent victim," said Lt. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, Commander of the U.S. Marine Forces in Japan.

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"We are all shocked, we are all stunned, we are all angry," he said. "My request to the Okinawa people is simple: please do not allow this terrible act of violence to drive a wedge between our two communities."

Okinawa, the site of a brutal World War Two battle, hosts 50,000 U.S. nat