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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A government vehicle en route to Yokota Air Base struck three children Dec. 22. Two of the children suffered bruises and cuts, the third a broken clavicle. The driver of the vehicle, a Navy sailor, was on duty at the time of the accident.

The sailor is an E-3 from Strike Fighter Squadron 27 that had been assigned temporarily to the USS Kitty Hawk, according to an official statement released by Commander, Naval Forces Japan on Wednesday. No names were released as no charges yet had been filed against the driver, said CNFJ spokesman Jon Nylander.

According to the statement, the accident occurred at 12:58 p.m. on Route 16 near the Hachioji bypass. The driver had left Naval Air Facility Atsugi in a duty vehicle to go to Yokota Air Base to pick up parts.

Two of the children are 8; the third is 9. CNFJ released no further details of the incident.

The sailor and a command representative made three condolence visits on Dec. 24, Nylander said.

“The sailor presented yen and toys to the victims as an expression of regret and the parents accepted the condolence call,” Nylander said.

Because the sailor was on duty status, the United States has primary jurisdiction over the investigation as per the U.S.-Japanese status of forces agreement, Nylander said. Local police also are conducting an investigation, as the sailor was interrogated at the scene and escorted to the Hachioji Police for an interview on Wednesday.

“We’re cooperating with Japanese police and we’ll assist them in any way,” Nylander said.

The Hachioji police deputy chief also declined to provide details, saying the “driver has not yet been taken into custody.”

According to a CNFJ statement, “The U.S. Navy sincerely regrets the unfortunate incident and is particularly appreciative of the cooperation from the Hachioji Police Department.”

Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.


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