Japanese man held in alleged attack on sailor
January 15, 2009
Japanese prosecutors are mulling charges against a Japanese man who was caught on video beating an Atsugi sailor Jan. 2 just outside the base’s main gate, Japanese police said Tuesday.
Yu Saiki, 28, left his home with two large dogs on leashes and then allegedly punched and kicked a 28-year-old petty officer second class at about 11 p.m. that night.
The sailor suffered a broken nose, a broken eye socket and several cuts and bruises, Japanese and Navy officials said Tuesday.
When Naval Air Facility Atsugi security forces and Japanese police first responded, Saiki claimed that the sailor taunted and cursed the dogs, then struck him.
However, video from base security cameras shows the sailor walking down the road before he came into contact with the dogs. "The next scene showed the alleged assailant hitting the sailor one-sidedly," a spokesman for the Kanagawa prefectural police in Yamato said.
Police arrested Saiki on Friday in his home and prosecutors received the case Sunday, the spokesman added.
Naval officials provided the sailor with a judge advocate for legal assistance.
"Currently, there is no indication that the sailor had acted inappropriately prior to the attack," Atsugi spokeswoman Sandra Arnold said. Navy officials declined to release the sailor’s name, Arnold said.
The airman is assigned to the Strike Fighter Squadron 195 "Dambusters," which is a part of Carrier Air Wing 5.
Whether Saiki, owner of a building construction company, ordered the dogs to attack the sailor remains under investigation.
The sailor told police he was walking down the street when the two dogs began growling. He tried calming them down — gesturing with both hands — when Saiki attacked, according to the sailor’s police statement.
Stars and Stripes reporter Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.