US sailor could face bodily injury charges months after incident near Yokosuka
Stars and Stripes October 25, 2022
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Local police are recommending criminal charges against a U.S. Navy sailor who allegedly charged into a group of people and injured several of them near the home of the U.S. 7th Fleet.
The male sailor, 29, whose identity has not been disclosed by either the Navy or Japanese authorities, is accused of running into five people around 8:30 p.m. July 9 in Zushi, eight miles from the naval base, a Kanagawa Prefectural Police spokesman told Stars and Stripes by phone Monday. Japanese government spokespeople are customarily required to speak to the media on condition of anonymity.
A 58-year-old woman from Yokohama suffered several broken bones, including a broken upper jaw and a broken nose, and a 33-year-old man from Tokyo sustained sprained cervical vertebrae, according to the spokesman. The remaining three sustained minor injuries.
Police on Friday recommended the Yokohama District Public Prosecutors Office indict the sailor on charges of bodily injury, the spokesman said. Prosecutors, not police, decide formal charges under Japan’s criminal justice system.
Neither police nor the prosecutors’ office provided further details of the incident. The police recommended charges after a monthslong investigation, according to their spokesman.
Naval base spokesman Randall Baucom said the sailor is assigned to the base but declined to identify the service member by name, age, rank, gender or specific command.
“The Navy takes all allegations involving misconduct of our Sailors, Navy civilians, and family members very seriously,” he said Monday in an email to Stars and Stripes. “Any questions about the investigation should be referred to Japanese authorities.”
In response to the incident, the Zushi Municipal Assembly passed a unanimous resolution Sept. 6 demanding the U.S. military apologize, compensate the victims and increase oversight on service members’ actions.
“The incident is a serious criminal act that Zushi city has not experienced in recent years,” the resolution said. “It is absolutely unacceptable that it caused fear and anxiety; not just to the victims, but to Zushi citizens.”
The resolution also urged the U.S. military to educate its service members on Japanese law and discourage them from visiting Zushi.
U.S. Forces Japan did not acknowledge or respond to multiple emails or phone calls requesting comment about the resolution as of Tuesday afternoon.
Zushi, a popular beach resort town, is often frequented by sailors and other Americans living in Yokosuka due to its proximity to the base.