Japanese police are questioning an American man from Misawa Air Base after he allegedly left the scene of a two-car crash Monday night on a Misawa city road.

The man — whose name was not released — works on the U.S. base, but it’s unclear if he’s military or civilian, according to Misawa police. He volunteered to be questioned and was not in custody Tuesday night.

Maj. John Redfield, a 35th Fighter Wing spokesman, said Tuesday the military is assisting Japanese authorities, but he could not provide incident details.

“It’s a Japanese National Police investigation. That’s something we don’t want to interfere with,” he said. “Of course, we’re going to cooperate with them as best we can … (but) we don’t want to interfere with the investigation in any way, shape or form.”

According to Misawa police, the incident occurred at about 8:15 p.m. Monday when a car swerved into an oncoming lane and struck a vehicle driven by Naomi Nakamura, a 32-year-old Misawa woman. Nakamura suffered a broken toe, according to police.

The car also crashed into the showroom of a nearby car dealership, damaging four vehicles and an illumination light, according to Tuesday’s Too Nippo, a local newspaper.

Witnesses told police the driver of the car — which they said had a “Y” license plate — left on foot, Too Nippo reported.

“Y” plates are so called for the first letter of plates issued for personal vehicles owned by U.S. servicemembers and civilians.

A Misawa police official said the driver was suspected of leaving the scene.

The man Japanese police were questioning was accompanied by U.S. military police during the session, the Misawa police official said.

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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.

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