Driver in Japan dies in crash with truck driven by US Marine

Pauline Gross
November 20, 2017

The United States military has banned all service members in Japan from drinking alcohol and has ordered those stationed on Okinawa to stay on base or in their homes following a fatal vehicle crash Sunday.

The U.S. military said in the statement that "alcohol may have been a factor" in the accident.

On Sunday Nicholas James-McLean, 21, was reportedly found with a blood alcohol content exceeding the legal limit after his 2-ton military truck collided with a minitruck at an intersection in Naha at around 5:25 a.m.

However, Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga appeared unhappy Monday despite the apology and restrictions announced by the USA forces.

Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commanding general of U.S. Marine Forces Japan, conveyed his "deepest regret and honest condolences to the family and friends of the Okinawan man who died as a result of this accident".

The victim was a 61-year-old man.

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"I'm speechless", Takeshi Onaga, Okinawa's governor, who strongly opposes the expansion of US bases in the southern island prefecture, told reporters after the latest incident.

Last year, United States sailors in Japan were banned from drinking for an 11-day period after a petty officer was accused of driving on the wrong side of the road, hitting two cars and injuring two people, while under the influence of alcohol.

Commanders across Japan are expected to lead mandatory training to address responsible alcohol use, risk management, and acceptable behavior.

On Sunday Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commanding general of U.S. Marine Forces Japan, said in a separate statement: "I would like to convey my deepest regret and honest condolences to the family and friends of the Okinawan man who died as a result of this accident". That same year, a U.S. Navy sailor was sentenced after being found guilty of pulling a sleeping woman he found in the hallway of his hotel and raping her. The fatal accident also comes as Okinawans are protesting the planned relocation of the US Marine Corps base at Futenma-which is in the midst of a densely populated area-to off the coast of Henoko, a fishing village.

Various facts involving us military in Okinawa, highly publicized in Japan, thus the oil on the fire. Tens of thousands of people turned out in a massive protest in June 2016 after a USA base worker was arrested in connection with the killing of a local woman. As well, those on Okinawa were restricted to base and their residences, until further notice.

Other reports by GizPress

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