Last Updated Oct 16, 2012 11:58 AM EDT
Updated at 11:58 a.m. ET
TOKYO Police say they have arrested two U.S. sailors in the alleged rape of a Japanese woman in Okinawa that has sparked a diplomatic protest.
Japanese police say the two 23-year-old suspects were arrested Tuesday. They were identified as Seaman Christopher Browning and Petty Officer 3rd Class Skyler Dozierwalker of the Fort Worth Naval Air Base in Texas.
Vice Foreign Minister Shuji Kira lodged a protest with U.S. Ambassador John Roos, who promised full cooperation with the investigation.
Okinawa prefectural spokesman Susumu Matayoshi said the suspected rape "shocked all Okinawans and is unforgivable."
Okinawa hosts more than half of the nearly 50,000 American troops in Japan. Local opposition to the U.S. bases over noise, safety concerns and crime flared into mass protests after the 1995 rape of a schoolgirl by three American servicemen.
Gary Solis, a former military who used to be stationed on the island, told CBS Radio News the arrests have the potential to create a ripple effect.
"The ramifications of this certainly go far beyond the crime itself," said Solis, "and it can affect Japanese-American relations and the U.S. ability to defend the Pacific area."