Cpl. John William Thomas III, 24, of the 3rd Marine Logistics Group at Camp Hansen, was arrested on suspicion of assault outside the nightclub in Naha's Kumoji neighborhood at around 4:50 a.m. local time on Sunday, Military.com reported. US Marines are currently not allowed to visit bars and nightclubs in Japan due to restrictions intended to contain the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus.
Thomas is accused of pushing the anonymous student on the dance floor and telling him not to come closer. The student said he would call the police if Thomas did not leave him alone, and Thomas responded by punching the student in the lower jaw, Military.com reported.
No other injuries were reported and Thomas has denied the allegations, a police spokesperson confirmed. The Marine was being held Monday at the Naha Police Station, and the assault charge against him was referred to the Naha District Public Prosecutor's Office on Monday afternoon.
First Lt. Jonathan Coronel, a spokesperson for the 3rd Marine Logistics Group, confirmed Thomas’ arrest to Military.com on Monday and noted that the unit is "fully committed to working with local authorities to assist with their investigation."
According to Japan's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, an assault conviction can be punished with up to two years behind bars or fines of as much as $3,000.