Yokota Air Base teen indicted in motorcycle injury case
TOKYO — The son of a U.S. airman was indicted Tuesday on charges he injured a Japanese motorcyclist last summer by stringing a rope across a street near Yokota Air Base, Japan, according to Japanese and U.S. military authorities.
The 19-year-old is considered a minor under Japanese law but will be tried as an adult. He faces charges of bodily injury and obstructing traffic, according to the Tokyo Public District Prosecutors Office in Tachikawa.
The bodily injury charge carries a maximum 15-year sentence under the Japanese penal code.
No trial date has been set, and authorities have declined to release the defendant’s name.
He was 18 last August when a woman drove her motorcycle into a taut rope strung across a street. The victim, who was 23 at the time of the accident, suffered a fractured skull and lay in a coma for weeks.
In December, Japanese authorities put four teens into custody as suspects, including the teen charged this week. All four were released on Dec. 25, and Japanese prosecutors dropped the investigation involving the other three.
The defendant remains on Yokota, according to base spokeswoman 1st Lt. Tania Bryan. He leaves base only to meet his lawyer or meet with Japanese prosecutors, Bryan said Wednesday.
“He is cooperating fully,” Bryan said. “He remains available to Japanese authorities.”A family court first reviewed the case but referred it back to criminal court, calling on authorities to try him as an adult.
If convicted, he also could face a maximum of two years in prison or a 200,000 yen fine (about $2,200) on the obstructing traffic charge, according to the Japanese penal code. He also could face a 500,000 yen fine (about $5,400) on the bodily injury charge.