Japanese woman arrested in stabbing death of Yokota-based airman
By SETH ROBSON AND HANA KUSUMOTO | STARS AND STRIPES Published: November 9, 2018
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — A Japanese woman has been arrested in the stabbing death of an airman assigned to the home of U.S. Forces Japan in western Tokyo, according to local media reports.
“A military member from the 374th Airlift Wing sustained serious injury and was pronounced dead at his off base residence [Friday] at approximately 8:42 p.m.,” an Air Force statement said.
The unidentified airman, who was in his 30s, was stabbed with a knife at his home in the nearby city of Tachikawa and taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to reports by TV Asahi and the Mainichi newspaper.
“The incident is under investigation and the name will be released pending next of kin notification,” the Air Force statement said.
A woman, who identified herself as Aria Saito, 27, an office worker from Tokyo’s Koto ward, was arrested at the scene of the incident on suspicion of attempted murder, a Tokyo Metropolitan Police spokesman said Saturday.
Police expect to upgrade the charge to murder since the victim had been pronounced dead at a local hospital, the spokesman said.
Television news footage showed Air Force personnel with Japanese police at the crime scene Friday evening.
Police believe Saito stabbed the victim’s neck with a knife with an intention to kill him. Investigators are looking into what might have motivated the attack, the police spokesman said.
In a message posted on Yokota’s official Facebook page, 374th Airlift Wing commander Col. Otis Jones told members of the military community that officials are looking into what happened.
“Losing a member of our team is hard for all of us, so I ask that you look out for each other and provide a hand when needed, especially on this very important holiday weekend,” he said. “Thank you for all you do and we will continue to keep you informed.”