Vechicles travel on Route 16 near Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, Friday, Aug. 25, 2023.

Vechicles travel on Route 16 near Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, Friday, Aug. 25, 2023. (Akifumi Ishikawa/Stars and Stripes)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A U.S. Navy sailor assigned to the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was killed in a Thursday night motorcycle accident near the home of the U.S. 7th Fleet.

The sailor was riding near Womble Gate, the base’s southeast entrance, when his motorcycle collided with a vehicle driven by a U.S. government civilian, base spokesman Randall Baucom told Stars and Stripes by email Friday.

The sailor, riding on Route 16 in Yokosuka around 10 p.m., approached the car from behind on the right, a spokesman for Kanagawa Prefectural Police told Stars and Stripes by phone Friday.

The sailor was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at 11:17 p.m., the spokesman said. The car’s driver was not injured. It’s customary in Japan for some government officials to speak to the media on condition of anonymity.

A Friday news report by TV Asahi showed police investigating the scene, with a motorcycle and a white passenger car visible. It identified the motorcyclist as a 24-year-old foreigner who had rolled under the car after the crash.

Baucom did not identify the sailor or the civilian, citing the Navy’s policy to identify deceased service members 24 hours after notifying their next of kin. He referred all additional questions to the Kanagawa Prefectural Police.

The police spokesman identified the civilian and sailor as males but provided no further identification.

Baucom said the sailor was assigned to the Ronald Reagan, which returned to Yokosuka on Friday morning after about three months at sea. Baucom did not say why the sailor was not on the carrier when it returned.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Sailor's family, friends and shipmates during this time. The accident is under investigation by local Japanese authorities with the support of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service,” he said in the email.

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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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