U.S. Navy reviews easing of rules on Japan bases

Some 50 civic group members hold placards to protest over the alleged rape of a local woman by two US servicemen in Okinawa, in front of the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on October 17, 2012. YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images

TOKYO Just days before two U.S. Navy sailors were accused of rape on the Japanese island of Okinawa, Navy commanders in Japan eased after-hours restrictions and said the majority of their sailors are "overwhelmingly outstanding."

Now, in his first comments since the incident, one of the commanders has told The Associated Press that decision is under review. But he also stands by his assessment that the U.S. troops under his watch display "exceptionally high standards of professional and personal conduct."

The rape allegation has sparked intense anger on Okinawa, one of America's most important Pacific military outposts. It prompted an immediate apology from the U.S. ambassador, along with a new curfew on all of the roughtly 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan.

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