Following Sunday's crash, US Forces Japan restricted all US military personnel to base and their residences, and prohibited the consumption of alcohol. According to Japanese police, the blood-alcohol content of the 21-year-old Nicholas James-McLean, the Marine involved in the crash, was three times Japan's legal limit. A witness told police that the military truck driven by the Marine ran a red light, hitting the minitruck driven by 61-year-old Hidemasa Taira as it attempted to make a right turn. Taira was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. James-McLean has been detained by police.
In Okinawa a Japanese man in 60s driving in this car was killed in crash with drink-driving U.S. service member. But US soldiers are untouchable for Japanese police and walk free again most likely. pic.twitter.com/0cvT5CK1lh— Fumi Hoshino 星野文則 (@fm3181) 19 ноября 2017 г.
Dangerous and often deadly incidents involving US personnel are a regular occurrence. In the last year and a half alone, Sputnik has counted nearly half a dozen such cases.
For example, in May 2017, a serviceman from the US Air Force from the US base at Kadena operating a motor vehicle under the influence hit a civilian car, injuring a local woman. The soldier fled the scene. A criminal case was opened against him, and in September he was found guilty, but given only a conditional sentence.
In June 2016, yet another soldier from the Kadena base got behind the wheel while intoxicated, driving into an oncoming lane and colliding with two civilian cars, seriously injuring three of their occupants. The same month, another service member got in a head-on collision at an intersection. His blood alcohol level was found to be four times in excess of the local limit. The soldier was arrested. Following the first incident, US Forces Japan banned alcohol consumption, but curiously lifted the ban on June 28, two days after the second accident.
Finally, in April 2016, a former US Marine working as a civilian employee at a US base attacked, raped and murdered a 20-year-old local woman and dumped her body. The woman was found five months later. The Naha prosecutor's office opened a criminal investigation against the ex-Marine in November 16. That trial is ongoing.