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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 April 2 - 8  > U.S. Navy seaman arrested on suspicion of taxi driver’s murder in Yokosuka
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2008 April 2 - 8 [US FORCES]

U.S. Navy seaman arrested on suspicion of taxi driver’s murder in Yokosuka

April 4, 2008
The Kanagawa Prefectural Police on April 3 arrested Olatunbosun Ugbogu, a 22-year-old sailor based at the U.S. Yokosuka Naval Base on suspicion of a robbery-murder in Yokosuka City in Kanagawa Prefecture.

Earlier, in questioning by Japanese police and U.S. Navy investigators, Ugbog, a Nigerian national, had admitted to killing taxi driver Takahashi Masaaki on March 19.

In conformity with the Japan-U.S. Status of U.S. Forces Agreement (SOFA), the U.S. side agreed to hand the suspect over to Japanese police before indictment. Thus, fully-fledged police investigation began nearly a half month after the murder.

According to police, the suspect admitted that he stabbed Takahashi in the left shoulder with a kitchen knife and left the scene without paying the taxi fare.

Ugbogu told the police investigators that he stabbed Takahashi after hearing voices ordering him to “kill someone.”

Ugbogu, a crewman from the cruiser USS Cowpens of the U.S. 7th Fleet based at Yokosuka, had been missing since mid-February and was apprehended by the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service on February 22 in Shinagawa Ward in Tokyo for desertion, and then was detained on the base. The U.S. Navy officially listed him as a deserter on March 10.

Actions in protest against the murder of the taxi driver are taking place in several cities. In Kanagawa, representatives of the Kanagawa Federation of Trade Unions, the Kanagawa Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo), and the New Japan Women’s Association’s Kanagawa chapter jointly lodged a protest with the U.S. naval base commander, demanding that the Navy apologize and compensate Takahashi’s family for the murder, and take strict measures to prevent further U.S. military crimes.

They also demanded that U.S. bases in Yokosuka be closed and that the planned deployment of the U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Yokosuka be canceled.

Also, the Central Action Committee for Abrogation of the Japan-U.S. Security, the Japan Peace Committee, the Japanese Communist Party Kanagawa Prefectural Committee, and the Association of victims of crimes and incidents by U.S. soldiers also protested against the serious crime and issued similar statements.
- Akahata, April 4, 2008
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