Beachgoers enjoy the water and sand in Zushi, Japan, June 26, 2023.

Beachgoers enjoy the water and sand in Zushi, Japan, June 26, 2023. (Alex Wilson/Stars and Stripes)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A U.S. sailor facing a criminal trial in Japan on charges he attacked and injured four people at a popular beach south of Tokyo now faces a civil lawsuit from the same incident.

The plaintiffs — a 59-year-old woman, a 26-year-old woman and two 34-year-old men — filed a lawsuit on Monday against the sailor, Daniel Krieger, in Yokohama District Court in Yokosuka, according to their lawyer, Masahiko Goto. They seek 20 million yen, or about $143,000, in compensation.

“It’s been a year, but there has not been any apology or compensation,” Goto told Stars and Stripes by phone Wednesday. The plaintiffs have had to pay their own medical bills, and some have ongoing issues related to their injuries, he said.

Japanese authorities allege that Krieger, assigned to Yokosuka, homeport of the U.S. 7th Fleet about 37 miles south of Tokyo, charged into five people and knocked them down at Zushi Beach on July 9, 2022. Several sustained severe injuries.

The Kanagawa Prefectural Police, the Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office and the naval base have all declined to specify Krieger’s assigned unit or rank.

Base spokesman Randall Baucom declined again Wednesday to provide that information and to comment on the civil lawsuit.

“As a matter of policy, we do not make comments on ongoing legal cases,” he said by phone.

Kanagawa police on Oct. 21 recommended charging Krieger with the bodily injury of all five people, but prosecutors indicted him on four counts on Nov. 11. Prosecutors, not police, decide formal charges under Japan’s criminal justice system.

They allege Krieger slammed into the group and kicked one of the men in the back, spraining two vertebrae.

People and pets stroll and exercise along Zushi Beach in the city of Zushi, Japan, Jan. 18, 2023.

People and pets stroll and exercise along Zushi Beach in the city of Zushi, Japan, Jan. 18, 2023. (Akifumi Ishikawa/Stars and Stripes)

Krieger also slammed into a second man, who fell backward into the 26-year-old woman, who suffered an abrasion to her right hand, according to prosecutors, who said Krieger kicked the second man in the face.

The 59-year-old woman suffered a broken upper jaw, a broken nasal bone and other facial injuries, according to prosecutors.

No criminal trial date has been set for Krieger, a spokesperson for the Yokohama District Court said by phone Wednesday. The lengthy wait is one of the victims’ complaints, Goto said.

"It looks like the criminal trial is not starting any time soon,” he said, adding that the plaintiffs hope Krieger admits what he did and apologizes.

Three from the group — the two men and the younger woman — in written statements provided by Goto, emphasized the trauma they’ve suffered and said they want Krieger to face severe punishment.

Goto declined to identify his clients by name, citing privacy concerns.

It’s customary in Japan for some government officials to speak to the media while remaining anonymous.

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Alex Wilson covers the U.S. Navy and other services from Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan. Originally from Knoxville, Tenn., he holds a journalism degree from the University of North Florida. He previously covered crime and the military in Key West, Fla., and business in Jacksonville, Fla.
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Hana Kusumoto is a reporter/translator who has been covering local authorities in Japan since 2002. She was born in Nagoya, Japan, and lived in Australia and Illinois growing up. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and previously worked for the Christian Science Monitor’s Tokyo bureau.

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