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Pacific edition, Monday, September 3, 2007

A USS Shiloh sailor was arrested Friday on suspicion of assaulting a 43-year-old Japanese man in Yokosuka, an Uraga police official said.

Police say Petty Officer 2nd Class Fernando Morato, 23, attacked the man just before 9 p.m. near Kitakurihama station, grabbing him from behind and squeezing his neck.

A passer-by reported it to police at Kitakurihama station and they arrested Morato on the spot, the official said. The alleged victim was not hurt.

“It’s unfortunate this incident has occurred,” Cmdr. David Waterman, a Commander, Naval Forces Japan spokesman, said Saturday. “Behavior like this isn’t tolerated, and the U.S. Navy will cooperate with Japanese authorities as needed.”

Japanese police officers believe Morato was drunk at the time of the arrest because they smelled alcohol on his breath, according to the Uraga police official.

He said the sailor initially denied assaulting the man but later admitted to the allegations. The two apparently did not know each other.

Morato remained in Japanese custody Saturday, the official added. Police planned to send the case to Yokohama prosecutors on Sunday.

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