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Japanese police hunt assault suspect who fled in ‘Y’ plate car near Misawa Air Base

A ‘Y’ plate is displayed on a vehicle at Yokota Air Base, Japan on July 12, 2019. The plate does not belong to the suspect who is being sought in connections with an assault that occurred near Misawa Air Base on July 10, 2019.

KAT BOUZA/STARS AND STRIPES

By SETH ROBSON AND HANA KUSUMOTO | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 11, 2019

TOKYO — Japanese police and the U.S. Air Force are searching for someone who allegedly assaulted a local man near Misawa Air Base and then fled in a vehicle with a type of license plate issued to American military personnel in Japan, officials said Thursday.

A 31-year old Japanese man discovered the seemingly “non-Japanese” suspect ransacking his car in a motel parking lot in Misawa City at about 11:15 p.m. Wednesday, a Misawa police spokesman said. The rules of the spokesman's job do not allow him to be named.

The suspect, described as 5 feet, 7 inches tall, slender, in his 20s or 30s, with short black hair and wearing black jeans and a black parka, allegedly punched the victim in the head and fled in a white car with a “Y” license plate, the spokesman said.

Nothing was taken from the victim’s car and the owner was not injured, the spokesman said. Police are searching for the getaway car with cooperation from U.S. forces.

A spokeswoman for Misawa’s 35th Fighter Wing confirmed in an email Thursday that the incident was being investigated by Japanese police.

“The Air Force takes the safety of local community members very seriously and will continue close cooperation with local authorities,” said Staff Sgt. Brittany Chase.

A note posted on Misawa Air Base’s official Facebook page warned of gate delays at the facility on Thursday.

“35th SFS will be conducting stop, check and passes in all inbound and outbound traffic lanes on base today. Please be prepared for delays and have your IDs ready for faster processing,” the message said.

robson.seth@stripes.com
Twitter: @SethRobson1

kusumoto.hana@stripes.com
Twitter: @HanaKusumoto

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