Yokosuka-area civic leaders assail Navy after latest assault
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy received three protest letters from local cities last week asking for “enforced discipline” after police say three USS Kitty Hawk sailors assaulted a Japanese restaurant manager while attempting to ditch their $200 bar tab.
The incident happened in Kamakura Sunday night, hours after the aircraft carrier returned to Yokosuka Naval Base from a two-month deployment. The letters call into question the Navy’s behavioral measures taken since the Jan. 3 robbery-murder of a Yokosuka woman by a Kitty Hawk sailor.
“It is truly regrettable that such an incident occurred again, even though the Navy has been enforcing various regulations since January’s robbery-murder incident in Yokosuka city,” read a letter by Kanagawa Gov. Shigefumi Matsuzawa and nine mayors of cities hosting bases in the prefecture, including Yokosuka’s Ryoichi Kabaya, Yokohama’s Hiroshi Nakada and Sagamihara’s Isao Ogawa. “We cannot help but wonder if the Navy is taking effective preventative measures.”
According to a Kamakura police spokesman, the three Kitty Hawk sailors racked up a 24,340-yen bill — about $211 — for beer, vodka, tequila and wine at a popular Kamakura restaurant and tried to leave after paying only 5,000 yen (about $43).
When the 41-year-old restaurant manager chased after them, the three sailors attacked him, bruising his jaw, head and abdomen, the spokesman said. The manager caught one sailor, Seaman Apprentice Brian Burgess, 21, who remains in Japanese custody. The other two fled the scene but were taken into military custody when they returned to the Kitty Hawk. Navy policy does not allow the release of suspects’ names until they are formally charged.
The Kamakura police spokesman said Burgess’ case has been sent to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office. Whether Japanese authorities will ask the Navy to hand over the other two suspects is unknown since the case is under investigation, he said.
The Navy is cooperating with the investigation, said Commander, Naval Forces Japan spokesman Jon Nylander, and will make the suspects available for questioning upon request from Japanese authorities.
“If indicted by a Japanese court they will be turned over to Japanese authorities,” Nylander said. “The Navy demands the highest standards of conduct from its sailors and holds them fully accountable for their actions at all times. The Navy takes any allegations of misconduct extremely seriously.”