A 19-year-old member of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force was arrested Tuesday for allegedly stabbing a taxi driver to death in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan, prefecture police said.

The JGSDF member, whose name was withheld because he is a minor under Japanese law, told police he stabbed the driver early Tuesday morning in Aira, which about 20 minutes from Kagoshima city at the southern edge of Kyushu, a spokesman for Kagoshima Prefecture police said.

Saburo Kamizono, 58, was found bleeding in his taxi after a passer-by reported the vehicle idling at the side of a road, the spokesman said.

A knife was found near the taxi’s driver seat, according to the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

The suspect was arrested at about 4 a.m. after he called authorities from a nearby police box.

The suspect is assigned to Japan Ground Self-Defense Force’s Camp Nerima in Tokyo, the spokesman said. He is originally from Sapporo city in Hokkaido and his parents had filed a missing person report to the prefecture police around March 22, Asahi reported.

The incident follows the high-profile case of U.S. sailor Olatunbosun Ugbogu, who admitted to stabbing a taxi driver to death near Yokosuka Naval Base last month and skipping out on a $195 fare.

The stabbing caused increased restrictions for U.S. personnel and a renewed debate over the presence of U.S. forces in Japan.

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.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now