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

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

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan — A Japanese court fined a 19-year-old Marine the equivalent of about $680 for trespassing and assaulting an older man in November near this air base south of Hiroshima.

Japanese authorities did not identify the Marine, who under age 20 is considered a juvenile in the Japanese judicial system. Marine spokesmen declined to identify the service member on Monday, saying they were not yet apprised that his case had closed.

The Marine was referred first to family court, then back to the Yamaguchi Public Prosecutors Office last month for criminal proceedings, a spokesman for that office said by phone Friday.

A court in Iwakuni city rendered a summary judgment Thursday and ordered the Marine to pay 100,000 yen, the spokesman said.

The victim, 67, scuffled with a U.S. service member Nov. 18 following a break-in at a store in Iwakuni, according to a Yamaguchi Broadcasting report.

He “sustained serious injuries, such as bruises to his body and a cut on his head,” the report said. The service member was taken away by other Americans.

“We respect the decision of the court, and we take this matter very seriously,” base spokesman 1st Lt. Aaron Ellis told Stars and Stripes by email on Monday.

“The actions for which the service member was convicted are contrary to our values, and we expect our service members to be upstanding members of the community,” he said.

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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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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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