6 deserters reported in Japan since agreement
NAHA, Okinawa — Just after Navy Seaman Olatunbosun Ugbogu was arrested in the stabbing death of a cab driver March 19, Japan insisted U.S. military officials notify them of any deserters believed to be in Japan.
An agreement to report such cases to local police was reached on May 15. Since then, Japan has received six such reports, a spokesman for the Status of Forces Agreement Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.
Of the six, five remain at large, he said. Two of them were based on Okinawa, and the others were from Kanagawa and Sasebo.
The agency declined to release details about the deserters.
Under the agreement, U.S. forces notify Japanese authorities about all servicemembers officially listed as deserters and Japanese police are allowed to take them into custody.
The agreement was reached after Ugbogu, assigned to the Yokosuka-based guided missile cruiser USS Cowpens, was charged with killing the 61-year-old taxi driver. The incident took place nine days after the Navy declared him a deserter.