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US Marine in Okinawa arrested on suspicion of kicking in taxi door

Okinawa Prefectural Police headquarters (Mainichi/Takayasu Endo)

NAHA -- A U.S. Marine sergeant was arrested here on Feb.16 on suspicion of kicking and breaking a taxi door on the Okinawan capital's main commercial thoroughfare.

    Sergeant Joseph Michael Sacco, stationed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the city of Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, was apparently extremely inebriated at the time of his arrest, and is reportedly denying the accusation.

    Sacco is specifically accused of kicking and breaking the front passenger-side door of a taxi stopped on Naha's Kokusai-dori avenue at about 4:45 a.m. on the morning of his arrest. He allegedly fled the scene, but was found and taken into custody on the street by a police officer on patrol in the neighborhood.

    The incident comes after the Feb. 11 arrest of Marine Private First Class Marvin Earl James Jr., based at the U.S. Marines' Camp Courtney in the prefectural city of Uruma, for allegedly indecently assaulting a local woman in a parking lot on her way home early on Jan. 31. James is also thought to have been drunk at the time.

    On Feb. 12, Okinawa Prefecture handed a letter of protest from Gov. Denny Tamaki to Neil Owens, director of Marine Corps Installation Pacific Government and External Affairs, stating that "the Marine Corps lack a sufficient training and management system." Owens apologized, and said the Marine Corps will strive for the enforcement of strict discipline.

    (Japanese original by Takayasu Endo, Naha Bureau)

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