Washington-- A two-star general who commands U.S. Army forces in Japan has been suspended from his duties for allegedly failing to report or properly investigate an allegation of sexual assault, the Army said Friday.
Maj. Gen. Michael T. Harrison was suspended by the Army chief of staff, Gen. Ray Odierno, and Army Secretary John McHugh, the Army said. It provided no details about the alleged sexual assault case.
Until the investigation of Harrison's role is completed, Maj. Gen. James C. Boozer will take his place in Japan, the Army said.
Harrison already had been selected to become deputy commander of the Army component of U.S. Central Command, based in Kuwait. That new assignment was publicly announced in February by the Pentagon, which said at the same time that Boozer would replace Harrison as commander in Japan. It was not clear Friday why the changes had not yet taken place.
An Army spokesman in Washington, George B. Wright, said that by suspending Harrison rather than relieving him of his command in Japan, the Army was leaving open the possibility that he might be reinstated in that job once the investigation is completed.
Harrison, a 33-year Army veteran, began his assignment in Japan in October 2010.
Amid increased political pressure to crack down on sexual abuse in the military services, the Air Force said Friday it is expanding the office responsible for sexual assault prevention and placed a female two-star general in charge.