Prosecutors drop case against Navy contractor accused of assault in Japan
Stars and Stripes January 12, 2024
Japanese prosecutors decided not to pursue charges against a U.S. military contractor arrested last year near Hiroshima on suspicion of punching a local man in the face.
The Fukuyama prosecutors decided to drop their case against Leone Lee Buggage, 34, due to “extenuating general circumstances,” a spokesman for the Hiroshima District Public Prosecutors Office told Stars and Stripes by phone Thursday.
He declined to provide additional details. Some government officials in Japan speak to the media only on condition of anonymity.
Buggage by email to Stars and Stripes on Thursday declined comment.
Police suspected Buggage of punching a 62-year-old man’s face in the Habu area of Innoshima on July 16. A witness reported the incident to police, a spokesman for the Hiroshima Prefectural Police said at the time.
Police arrested Buggage the next day after he voluntarily answered questions at a police station, the police spokesman said.
Prosecutors, not police, decide formal charges under Japan’s criminal justice system.
Military Sealift Command Far East at the time acknowledged “an incident involving a contractor, who is working with a U.S. Navy ship, and not a U.S. government employee,” spokesman Grady Fontana said by email at the time.
Fontana did not identify Buggage in July and did not respond to an email request for comment Friday.