Two separate cases of U.S. servicemen stationed in Okinawa who broke the recently enacted curfew and committed crimes of trespassing while drunk have been turned over to Japanese public prosecutors. The latest involves marine Thomas Chanquet, who simply entered an unlocked apartment in order to lie down and sleep while the owner was gone, was arrested on Sunday. He remains in custody after a neighbor saw him enter the unit and called police.
The other incident, involving another 24 year old serviceman, is over his breaking into an apartment, also while intoxicated, and punching a 13 year old boy who lived there, breaking a TV set, and then fleeing by jumping out of a window. The suspect in this case, still unnamed, was never arrested, as he returned to the U.S.’s Futenma Air Force base for medical treatment just after the November 2nd trespassing and attack. But police say the young man has fully cooperated with the investigation, including participating in several off-base interviews, and even apologized in person to the Japanese boy’s parents and town mayor. So while he may not be in custody at the present, his fate still lies with the prosecutor’s.
Chanquet, meanwhile, has admitted to knowingly violating the 11:00 PM to 5:00 AM curfew that was imposed after two U.S. sailors were arrested in mid-October for the rape of a young local women in a different part of Okinawa. Police say he feels embarrassed and has apologized, both for creating such an incident and for frightening the other people of the apartment building. He reportedly had been out drinking from around 8:30 PM to 6:00 AM on the morning of November 18th, and snuck into the apartment room around 7:35 AM. Upon his arrest, Chanquet told police he had met a woman at one of the bars who told him he could sleep there for a while, as the owner was away. But he later admitted that he had been so drunk he doesn’t remember how he got into the building.
It seem apparent that the real problem is in the U.S. military‘s inability to firmly enforce its curfew. Osamu Fujimura, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, stated that this second incident after the curfew was imposed is truly regrettable, as it was meant to prevent such things from happening. Fujimura added that U.S. officials have apologized and pledged to make additional efforts.
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