A 19-year-old sailor was arrested Thursday afternoon on suspicion of stabbing two Japanese in a Yokosuka city apartment, an Uraga Police spokesman said.

The USS Gary sailor allegedly stabbed a 16-year-old girl in the stomach and 26-year-old woman in the back during an argument around 8:25 a.m. Thursday near Mabori Kaigan station and fled the apartment, the spokesman said

Once in police custody, the sailor admitted to the stabbings and was placed under arrest at 5:22 p.m. on suspicion of attempted murder, the spokesman said.

The name and rank of the sailor were not released by police or the U.S. Navy, but Japanese media reports said the sailor was a seaman recruit, or E-1.

A construction worker found the injured 16-year-old lying on the street and notified the police around 8:30 a.m., according to the spokesman.

When police arrived they found the injured 26-year-old in the apartment, the spokesman said.

The residence belonged to one of the women’s friends, the spokesman said. The 16-year-old is from Tokyo and the 26-year-old is from Ayase city, he said.

Police said the teenager’s injuries were minor and the woman suffered serious wounds but was expected to recover.

The construction worker told police he saw a 5-foot-6-inch stocky non-Japanese man running from the scene, the spokesman said.

Police searching the area found the sailor, who had similar physical features, and asked him to voluntarily come to the police station for questioning, the spokesman said.

Police said the sailor and the women met a week ago, but details of their relationship are under investigation.

Commander, Naval Forces Japan leader Rear Adm. James Kelly said in a news press release Thursday that he is “gravely concerned” a sailor may have been involved.

“We have been in contact with Japanese local, prefectural and national government officials to resolve this case as quickly as possible. We all pray for the victims’ speedy recovery,” Kelly said.

Rear Adm. Richard Wren, commander of Task Force 70, which includes the USS Gary, said he is “very disappointed this sailor appears to have violated” rules to ensure conduct during liberty reflects “the value we place in the relationship with our host nation.”

“We are all concerned for the welfare of the victims’ of this egregious event,” Wren said in the release.

The release also stated that a review of the Navy’s standards of conduct will be done to reinforce good order and discipline.

Yokosuka Naval Base commander Capt. Daniel Weed and Cmdr. Joker Jenkins, the USS Gary commanding officer, met with Yokosuka Mayor Ryoichi Kabaya on Thursday afternoon to apologize, according to a Yokosuka city official.

Kabaya expressed regret over the incident and asked for preventive measures to be taken, the official said.

USS Gary is scheduled to depart Japan and return to San Diego sometime in August, according to CNFJ release.

Stars and Stripes reporter Chris Fowler contributed to this report.

author picture
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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