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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A high-ranking Navy civilian was released on bail last week to await his trial in the death of a 70-year-old Japanese man outside a Yokosuka bar.

Robert Burns Nolan, a GS-14 who works on the base as the Commander, Naval Forces Japan personnel management officer, was released Feb. 20 from Japanese custody on a 3-million-yen bond, about $30,000, the Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office in Yokosuka said Thursday.

No trial date has been set for Nolan, who was charged with “bodily injury resulting in death” almost three months ago.

The charges stem from the Nov. 2 incident in which Nolan is accused of shoving Katsumi Nakagawa outside Live Bar Buzz a few blocks from Yokosuka Naval Base’s main gate. The bar since has closed down.

According to the prosecutor’s office statement, Nolan “pushed the victim hard near his chest, causing him to fall and hit the back of his head on the sidewalk.” Nakagawa died four days later at a Yokosuka hospital from a brain contusion, according to the statement.

A Yokosuka police spokeswoman told Stars and Stripes after the incident that Nakagawa was drunk and causing a disturbance in the bar where Nolan, 54, was working at the time. Nolan was taken into Japanese police custody Nov. 3.

A trial date is set by the Yokohama District Court in Yokosuka. A Yokohama District Court spokesman said Thursday that the original February trial date was delayed due to scheduling a witness for the prosecution.

Proceedings in Japan require “adequate pretrial preparation” to carry-out a “well-planned” and “solid” trial, according to the law of criminal procedure.

Civilians working under the status of forces agreement are accorded the same rights as servicemembers, including having an observer at the trial. Commander, Naval Forces Japan regulations also provide the accused a Japanese defense attorney at government expense.

A conviction of bodily injury resulting in death carries a prison term for a minimum of three years and a maximum of 20 years.


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