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OKINAWA CITY — An 18-year-old Marine was in Okinawa police custody Sunday after police investigating the attempted robbery of a cab driver discovered that he was carrying a knife.

According to a police spokesman, the Marine, who was not named because he is considered a minor in Japan, was arrested about 9:40 p.m. Saturday while walking down a street in Okinawa city’s bar district. Police officers investigating the attempted robbery earlier in the evening stopped him for questioning and discovered he had a folding knife with a four-inch blade in his pants pocket. Japanese law prohibits carrying knives with blades longer than about 2.3 inches.

Police spokesman Akira Kiuna said police had come to the area, in the Uechi entertainment district near Kadena Air Base, after a cab driver said a non-Japanese passenger grabbed him from behind, held a knife to his throat and demanded money. The incident occurred about 8:05 p.m.

Kiuna said the 57-year-old cabbie grabbed his assailant’s arm and fled from the cab. He returned to his cab later and discovered no money had been taken.

The cabbie said his assailant was a young, short-haired, plump white male and had tattoos on the arm that held the knife. He was wearing a white tank top and white shorts, the driver reported. Kiuna said he did not know whether the young Marine matched that description.

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