Prosecutors, not police, decide formal charges under the Japanese justice system.

Prosecutors, not police, decide formal charges under the Japanese justice system. (Vecteezy)

Japanese police arrested an Air Force employee over the weekend on suspicion of hitting and injuring a man with her phone at Naha Airport, according to a spokesman for Okinawa Prefectural Police.

Evelyn Mickles, 67, a civilian at Kadena Air Base, was held Saturday on suspicion of bodily injury following an altercation with a 55-year-old man, the spokesman said by phone Monday.

Police allege Mickles struck the man on the face with her phone at 5:19 p.m., scratching his right eyelid.

The two did not know each other, a spokesman for Tomishiro police said by phone Monday. Some government spokespeople in Japan are required to speak to the media only on condition of anonymity.

Mickles told police she did not mean to hit the man, the Tomishiro police spokesman said. The incident is under investigation.

Mickles was still in Japanese custody Monday, the spokesman said.

“The 18th Wing is cooperating with local authorities on their investigation and providing SOFA-prescribed support” to Mickles, Staff Sgt. Gary Hilton, a wing spokesman, said by email Monday.

SOFA is the status of forces agreement that outlines the rights and responsibilities of those in Japan as part of the U.S. military.

“The U.S. Air Force will hold anyone accountable who commits criminal acts under the applicable laws,” Hilton said.

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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.
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Jonathan Snyder is a reporter at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. Most of his career was spent as an aerial combat photojournalist with the 3rd Combat Camera Squadron at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. He is also a Syracuse Military Photojournalism Program and Eddie Adams Workshop alumnus.

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