Charges against Okinawa base worker are dropped
NAHA, Okinawa — Charges have been dropped against a former Marine base employee arrested by Okinawa police last month for allegedly demanding a commission for helping another man get a base job.
The case against Choken Yara, 60, a Camp Foster motor pool employee, was dismissed Dec. 26 by Naha District Court prosecutors without comment.
A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office contacted Monday wouldn’t discuss the case.
Typically, only 50 percent of the criminal cases presented to prosecutors in Japan result in indictments and trial.
Yara was charged with forcing another man to pay him 500,000 yen, about $4,500, for allegedly arranging a commissary job for him at Kadena Air Base. Yara allegedly told the man he would put in a good word with a friend at the commissary.
The man said he gave Yara the money during a meeting in a clothing store parking lot in Okinawa City on May 13 after he was hired. He reported the incident to police in August after discovering Yara hadn’t arranged the hiring.
Police forwarded the case to prosecutors.
Yara denied the charge, Okinawa police said.
The payment of commissions by persons seeking jobs on U.S. military bases has been rumored to be commonplace, but Yara’s arrest marked the first such fraud case filed by Okinawa Prefectural Police.
At the time of Yara’s arrest, Takumi Okazaki, director of the Defense Facilities Administration’s Naha Bureau, said the charge was “extremely serious.”
However, the agency now considers the case closed.
“Choken Yara retired as of Dec. 31,” an agency spokesman said Tuesday. “There was no request from the U.S. military for the DFAB to take any personnel action against him as a punitive measure.
“Because the charge was dropped, we consider that he was not guilty.”