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Okinawa police say ex-airman lived illegally on base for several years

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Okinawa City Police arrested an American on April 11 who they said has lived on Kadena Air Base for several years despite having neither U.S. military identification nor passport.

Douglas Wayne Hiller had been staying with various friends, living out of a suitcase on the air base, said an Okinawa City Police spokesman.

Hiller, formerly a senior airman attached to Kadena’s 353rd Maintenance Squadron, left the Air Force in September 2000, said the spokesman. Kadena military police first apprehended Hiller, then turned him over to Okinawa police, the spokesman said.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Kadena’s Public Affairs Office had not responded to a Monday morning request for information on the case, including confirmation of Hiller’s name, former rank or unit affiliation.

They also did not respond to requests for information on regulations governing base residents harboring people on the island without proper identification, or how such persons could gain entry to military installations.

Hiller still was in police custody Tuesday. The maximum punishment he could face for violating Japanese immigration laws is three years in prison and a fine of 300,000 yen, or about $2,500, said the Okinawa police spokesman.

Local police typically detain immigration violators for several days, then deport those with no other criminal charges against them, said the spokesman.

Whenever local law enforcement authorities arrest Americans, they notify officials at the U.S. Consulate in Naha, said a U.S. government official. Privacy regulations do not allow the consulate to discuss specific cases, said the official.

In general, the official added, former U.S. military members “would be in the same boat” as any other non-resident of Japan living on the island illegally.

“You have to have a valid residence permit and visa;” persons lacking them may be charged with breaking immigration law and could be deported.

Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.


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