National / Crime & Legal

Man nabbed for pointing laser at U.S. military plane in Tokyo suburb

Kyodo

Police said Wednesday they have arrested a man on suspicion of aiming a laser pointer at a U.S. military aircraft flying in the vicinity of Yokota Air Base in the suburbs of Tokyo.

Yoshinori Shigekawa, 60, was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly forcing U.S. military personnel to suspend a training exercise after he directed green laser beams at an airborne C-130J transport plane around 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 11, the police said.

Shigekawa, who lives in Akiruno near the base, targeted the aircraft from the parking area of a nearby commercial facility, they said.

He has admitted to the allegation and said he had used lasers against U.S. military and other aircraft for three years, according to the police. The U.S. military has suffered about 40 such cases around the base since March last year.

The police suspect Shigekawa of involvement in at least a dozen of these cases, based on their analysis of surveillance camera footage. They have found five laser pointers at Shigekawa’s home.

Directing laser beams at the eyes can result in temporary blindness, the police said.