OKINAWA CITY, Okinawa — A 22-year-old Marine was in police custody Tuesday for possessing an illegal knife.

Okinawa police said Lance Cpl. Clarence Butler, assigned to Command Fleet Activities Okinawa at Kadena Air Base, was arrested early Saturday after patrolling police officers saw him acting strangely and pounding on the steel shutters of a clothing store in the Chuo district of Okinawa City, a popular bar and shopping area.

When police confronted the Marine and searched him, they found he was carrying a folded knife in a pants pocket that had a blade 7 centimeters (2.8 inches) long, the police spokesman said.

Japan’s strict Swords and Firearm Control Law prohibits possession of any knife with a blade exceeding 7 centimeters. The maximum punishment for such an offense is imprisonment for one year or a fine of 300,000 yen (about $2,730).

According to police, Butler, who was alone in apparent violation of the Marines’ policy of requiring “liberty buddies” for junior enlisted personnel, was stopped by the Okinawa police officers at 2:50 a.m. and became violent when questioned.

He then was escorted to the nearby Okinawa City Police Station, where he was searched and a Breathalyzer test detected 0.45 milligrams of alcohol in his breath.

When police officers inspected Butler’s belongings at the police station, they found a knife in his pocket, and he immediately was arrested on suspicion of violating the Swords and Firearm Control Law, the police spokesman said.

The case was sent to the Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office the next day.

Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.

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