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

Prosecutors, not police, decide charges under the Japanese justice system. (Stars and Stripes)

Japanese police arrested an Okinawa-based Marine over the weekend on suspicion of assaulting a nightclub employee.

Pfc. Julio Mendoza Jr., 19, of the 9th Engineer Support Battalion, 3rd Marine Logistics Group at Camp Kinser, was taken into custody Sunday, a police spokesman told Stars and Stripes by phone Tuesday.

Mendoza, according to police, hit a club employee in Naha at 3:52 a.m. after the club staff tried to force him to leave, the spokesman said.

Mendoza entered a club staff room and assaulted the employee, the spokesman said. Other workers detained the Marine and handed him over to the police.

Mendoza told police he was drunk and doesn’t remember what happened, according to the spokesman.

The case has been sent to the prosecutors. Mendoza was released from custody on Monday, the spokesman said.

“The Marine Corps is fully cooperating with Japanese law enforcement on this matter,” Capt. Brett Vannier, a spokesman for 3rd Marine Logistics Group, told Stars and Stripes by email Tuesday. “The allegations against the Marine are not in keeping with Marine Corps standards and do not reflect the deep value we have for the community and our long-standing relationship.”

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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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Kelly Agee is a reporter and photographer at Yokota Air Base, Japan, who has served in the U.S. Navy for 10 years. She is a Syracuse Military Photojournalism Program alumna and is working toward her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Maryland Global Campus. Her previous Navy assignments have taken her to Greece, Okinawa, and aboard the USS Nimitz.

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