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2 US Sailors Arrested, Another Released, in Japan

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Two USS George Washington sailors were arrested Monday in separate off-base incidents, while prosecutors dismissed a recent trespassing case against another sailor.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Jon Riley Canfield, 22, was arrested Monday after he allegedly punched a Japanese man in the face, a Kanagawa Prefectural Police spokesman said.

Seaman Apprentice Manuel Silva, 20, an aviation boatswain’s mate, was arrested early Monday morning after police alleged that he illegally trespassed on a Japanese woman’s property in Yokosuka city, according to a Yokosuka police spokesman.

Navy officials said Tuesday they couldn’t disclose details of the incidents due to privacy concerns, but that they were cooperating with the Japanese investigations.

The arrests came despite ongoing curfews and alcohol restrictions meant to curb bad behavior by servicemembers. Most sailors had Monday off for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Canfield is suspected of punching a 28-year-old man who tried to stop the sailor from bothering a woman in a commercial building near Yokohama train station at 2:53 p.m., the Kanagawa spokesman said. The man sustained minor injuries but apprehended Canfield and handed him over to police.

Canfield said he was drunk and did not remember what happened, the Kanagawa police spokesman said. Based on a breath test, police reported his blood alcohol level at 0.12.

Canfield is in Japanese police custody, and police planned to refer the case to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday.

Silva was arrested after police received three separate calls from residents in Shioiri-cho, near Yokosuka Naval Base, saying someone was ringing their doorbells around 3 a.m.

Police said they found Silva hiding just outside an elderly woman’s home, next to her washing machine and laundry rack, and that he admitted hiding there to evade police. Silva registered a 0.06 blood alcohol level and remained in Yokosuka police custody as of Tuesday afternoon. His case was scheduled to be forwarded to the Yokohama District Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a Jan. 13 trespassing charge against Petty Officer 2nd Class Richard Mark Lawton, 24, was dropped Friday, according to a spokesman from the Yokohama district prosecutor’s office in Yokosuka.

The spokesman declined to comment on why the case was dismissed, but said Lawton was released from custody Thursday.

Lawton had entered an unlocked Yokosuka home around 2:40 a.m., causing a Japanese woman living there to call police. Lawton, who was scheduled to leave Japan in a few days and separate from the Navy, told police he had mistaken the residence for a friend’s home.

Military officials imposed an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for all servicemembers in Japan soon after two Texas-based sailors were arrested for the alleged rape of a woman on Okinawa in October. Further restrictions followed as continued incidents have drawn added political and Japanese media scrutiny.

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