TOKYO (AFP) - A 24-year-old US Marine was arrested Sunday for trespassing into an islander’s apartment in Okinawa, police said, as anti-American sentiment runs high following the rape of a local woman. Lieutenant Tomas Chanquet was detained after entering the unlocked apartment belonging to a restaurant worker “without any legitimate reason,” a spokesman for Okinawa police said by phone. The Marine is believed to have violated a night-time curfew imposed by the US military on all its servicemen in Japan after two US navy sailors were arrested on charges of raping a woman in Okinawa in October. That case prompted an outcry in Okinawa, the reluctant host to more than half of the 47,000 military personnel the US has in Japan.

Media reports said Chanquet told police he had been out drinking and entered the apartment believing it belonged to a Japanese woman he met at a club who had given her approval.

However, he entered the home of a restaurant worker, surprising the owner’s girlfriend who was there at the time and who called for help. The serviceman promptly fell asleep and no one was hurt in the incident.

Anti-US feeling was aggravated earlier this month when a 24-year-old airman allegedly broke into an apartment and hit a 13-year-old Japanese boy after drinking in a village pub during curfew hours.

Washington sees Okinawa as a vital strategic stronghold in the region, but islanders are fed up with shouldering what they say is a disproportionate burden for the Japan-US relationship.

The incidents also come amid swelling protests over the deployment of Osprey aircraft, with locals voicing concerns about the plane’s perceived poor safety record.

The transport planes are deployed at the Futenma Marine Corps airbase where Chanquet works.

In September tens of thousands of people rallied against the tilt-rotor Osprey, which can take off and land like a helicopter and fly like a plane.

In 1995, the gang rape of a 12-year-old Okinawan girl by US servicemen sparked mass protests resulting in a US-Japan agreement to reduce the huge US military presence on the Okinawan chain.