Two U.S. servicemen face prosecution in separate trespassing cases

Kyodo

Police sent to prosecutors on Monday a U.S. Marine based at Camp Zukeran for alleged trespassing at a building in Naha after a night of heavy drinking.

In a separate case in Okinawa, the police also sent their case to prosecutors on a serviceman at the U.S. Air Force’s Kadena base who allegedly hit a teenage boy after entering a residence in the village of Yomitan on Nov. 2 when he was drunk.

Both incidents involved violations of the 11 p.m.-5 a.m. curfew on all U.S. military personnel in Japan that was imposed following the alleged rape of a local woman by two U.S. servicemen in Okinawa last month.

In the Naha case, 24-year-old 1st Lt. Tomas Chanquet, who was arrested Sunday, reportedly told the police he was embarrassed for having caused such an incident and apologized for frightening people.

Chanquet has told the police that he was aware of the curfew, but broke it “to go drinking with a female employee (of a bar),” according to the officials. The police initially said he was based at the Futenma base but later corrected it to Camp Zukeran.

He is suspected of sneaking into a room in a building in Naha at around 7:35 a.m. Sunday. He told the police he drank alcohol at about three places starting around 8:30 p.m. Saturday and left the last one at around 6 a.m. the following day.

Immediately after his arrest, Chanquet told the police a woman he met while drinking said it was all right for him to sleep in the room, which belonged to a man. But he later changed the deposition, saying he was so drunk he did not remember how he entered the room.

“It’s extremely regrettable the incident occurred at a time when the night curfew is in place and measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents are being considered,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Osamu Fujimura said at a news conference in Tokyo.

“The U.S. side voiced its deep regret over the latest case and pledged to make further efforts to ensure implementation of effective preventive measures,” Fujimura said.

The government conveyed on Sunday its strong regret over the latest incident to the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Forces in Japan, Fujimura said.

The other U.S. serviceman, on whom papers were sent to prosecutors for allegedly entering a residence earlier this month after drinking at around 1 a.m., basically admitted to the charges, including hitting the 13-year-old boy in the face and breaking a TV.

After the incident, the 24-year-old suspect fell from the third-floor residence to the street below and had been hospitalized for injuries, including a fractured rib.

Residents in Okinawa demanded that the U.S. military transfer custody of the serviceman to the Japanese police, but the Okinawa Prefectural Police did not seek an arrest warrant for him, saying he has been responding to voluntary questioning and there has been no hindrance to the investigation process.