SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — An Okinawa-based Marine was arrested Thanksgiving Day for trespassing after climbing up the drainpipe of a local office building, reportedly telling police that he wanted to practice backflips on the roof.

Pfc. Gregory James Carson II, 20, was picked up by police around 2:15 p.m. Thursday near the building following a call from a concerned neighbor, a police spokesman in Uruma said Friday. The building is owned by a landowners association that leases property to the Japanese government for military purposes and is about a kilometer from Camp Courtney, where Carson is stationed.

Carson tested negative for alcohol, the spokesman said. He is in Japanese custody.

There was no damage to the building and Carson was taken in for voluntary questioning where he admitted the incident, the spokesman said. TV Asahi is reporting that Carson told police he wanted to practice backflips on the roof.

The incident comes at a time when tensions are already running high between the small island prefecture’s local population and the U.S. military stationed there, following the alleged gang-rape of a young Japanese woman by two U.S. sailors last month.

After that incident, U.S. Forces Japan instituted an 11 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew for all U.S. servicemembers in Japan. There have been several high-profile incidents since, including two trespassing cases on Okinawa.

A Kadena-based airman allegedly broke into a Japanese home and assaulted a teenager following a curfew-violating drinking binge. He was injured after falling from a third-floor window.

Police arrested a Marine officer Sunday for trespassing after a night of drinking.

Okinawan officials have lodged complaints with U.S. authorities following each incident, expressing doubts about preventative measures like the curfew and presence patrols.

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Matthew M. Burke has been reporting from Okinawa for Stars and Stripes since 2014. The Massachusetts native and UMass Amherst alumnus previously covered Sasebo Naval Base and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, for the newspaper. His work has also appeared in the Boston Globe, Cape Cod Times and other publications.
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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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