US marine arrested following fatal Okinawa truck crash

Jimmy 3x3 | 12 Views | 2017-11-20T05:00:51+00:00
2016: New strains on US bases in Japan
  • US service members' movement has been restricted
  • Many Okinawans are opposed to the US military presence on the island

Tokyo (CNN)A US service member has been arrested following a deadly vehicle crash on the Japanese island of Okinawa early Sunday morning.

Marine Pvt. First Class Nicholas James-McLean was driving a truck when it collided with another vehicle at 5:25 a.m. in Okinawa's capital of Naha, killing the other driver -- a 61-year-old local man identified as Jun Tamanaha, the Naha police department told CNN.

Police said James-McLean's blood alcohol content was three times the legal limit.

The case will be sent to the Naha prosecutor's office Tuesday morning, which will investigate and decide whether or not to indict James-McLean, Tamanaha said.

CNN is reaching out to both US Forces Japan and local police to see if James-McLean has retained a lawyer.

USFJ announced it is now restricting service members on the island to their bases and places of residence due to the incident. Alcohol consumption has also been prohibited by all service members on or off bases across Japan.

Okinawan residents have protested the US military presence on the southern Japanese island for years, in large part due to violent and fatal incidents involving members of the US military.

Last year, US 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.

In 2016, two incidents in the space of three months prompted widespread public anger -- in March, a US service member was arrested on suspicion of raping a Japanese tourist, and in May, a civilian contractor at a US base in Okinawa was arrested in connection with the death of a 20-year-old woman.

The US military has confirmed plans to reduce its footprint in Okinawa in the coming years.

It handed some land back to the Japanese last year, and plans to move about 4,000 of the 19,000 Marines from Okinawa to the US territory of Guam from 2024 to 2028.

Adm. Harry Harris, the head of the US Pacific Command, told Congress earlier this year the military hopes to reduce the number of Marines in Okinawa to 10,000.

CNN's Junko Ogura contributed to this report

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