The two were found dead Saturday morning inside a six-story apartment building in the Kuwae district of Chatan, according to an Okinawa Prefectural Police spokesman.
Authorities say the murder-suicide was carried out by the male sailor, 31, and both have died from stab wounds, according to the Washington Examiner. It’s unknown why he went through with the attack, but Stars and Strips reported the two were in a relationship.
The woman, in her 40s, had a child in the apartment during the time of the stabbings, who is unharmed and now in government custody. The child called a relative for help, who eventually reached out to the police at 7:26 a.m.
Names have not been released, but the sailor was part of the U.S. 3rd Marine Division, based in Okinawa.
Although Okinawa makes up less than 1 percent of Japan’s land space, AP said, it hosts about half of the 54,000 American troops stationed in Japan, and is home to 64 percent of the land used by U.S. bases in the country.
This attack comes in the wake of an NBC report highlighting resentment toward U.S. troops in Okinawa. “There are so many American troops here. Of course, 99 percent of them are good people, but then there is that 1 percent who do evil things. It’s hard for us,” said Tomomichi Shimabukuro, who runs a seaside inn called Churaumi-kun.
The Washington Examiner says the Marine Corps is cooperating with police as they finish their investigation.
“This is an absolute tragedy and we are fully committed to supporting the investigation into the incident,” the III Marine Expeditionary Force said in a statement. “More information will be forthcoming as the investigation progresses.”
Take Akiba, Japan’s vice minister of foreign affairs, told NBC News he “lodged a strong complaint” with U.S. Ambassador William Hagerty, requesting support for the investigation. Hagerty “expressed his deep regret” for what happened and promised full cooperation with the investigation.