Liberty restrictions unlikely after stabbing
July 8, 2007
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE — No new crackdown on liberty privileges for Yokosuka Naval Base sailors is expected in the wake of the stabbings of a Japanese woman and teenage girl Thursday, Navy officials said Friday.
“Currently there are no plans to impose any liberty restrictions,” said Jon Nylander, spokesman for Commander, Naval Forces Japan.
However, officials say they will continue to hammer home the need for sailors to be on their best behavior while overseas.
“As leaders we are responsible for the actions of the sailors under our charge and we promise to take immediate action to maintain good order and discipline and prevent reoccurrences of such incidents in the future,” Yokosuka commanding officer Capt. Dan Weed wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.
Yokosuka spokeswoman Michelle Stewart said the base also will “continue to educate our sailors and the ships will also re-emphasize good conduct during their internal indoctrination programs.”
A 19-year-old sailor assigned to the USS Gary remains in Japanese custody on suspicion he stabbed a 16-year-old girl and a 26-year-old woman in an apartment near Mabori Kaigan station.
The Navy has not released the sailor’s identity nor has it requested that Japan waive jurisdiction in the case under the status of forces agreement.
Nylander would say only that the sailor is a seaman recruit from Harpursville, N.Y, who has been in the Navy less than a year and had been aboard USS Gary since April 13.
According to an Uraga Police spokesman, the incident occurred about 8:25 a.m. Thursday. The teenager was stabbed in the stomach and the woman was stabbed in the back, the spokesman said.
Both are expected to recover from their injuries.
Meanwhile, police continue to sort out what took place in the apartment, which they say was the residence of a 38-year-old servicemember who allegedly was dating the 16-year-old.
The spokesman did not name the servicemember or say where he is assigned, only that he was not home during the incident.
Police said the accused sailor and the two victims were staying at the apartment Wednesday night with another unidentified male, who left before the stabbings.
They said the sailor and the teenager apparently were arguing but did not say why. Japanese newspapers reported the sailor told police he became upset when the girl refused to have a relationship with him and stabbed her.
The police spokesman said the sailor reported he then stabbed the 26-year-old woman because she was screaming.
At some point the teenager fled the apartment, escaping from a second-floor balcony, and sought help from a passing construction worker. The worker gave police a description of a non-Japanese man he saw running from the scene, the spokesman said.
Police arrested the sailor after finding him near Yokosuka Chuo station. The spokesman said the sailor admitted stabbing the two.
Police sent the case to the prosecutor’s office Friday morning to consider possible charges.