The U.S. was in apology mode again Monday over the latest incident on Okinawa in which military personnel allegedly caused harm to Japanese civilians, fanning already strong anti-American sentiment on the island.
The Defense Department "deeply regrets" the accident Sunday in which an allegedly drunk U.S. Navy sailor drove the wrong way on a road and smashed head-on into two vehicles, injuring at least two Okinawa residents, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.
"Obviously, this is a deeply concerning event that we wish had not taken place and we’re all going to be cooperating with Japanese authorities fully in this investigation and in doing what we can to prevent these kinds of things from ever happening again," Cook said at a Pentagon briefing.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Aimee Mejia, 21, who was assigned to the Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa, was arrested by Okinawa police who recommended Monday that she be charged with "dangerous driving resulting in injuries." If convicted, Mejia could face a maximum sentence of 15 years under Japanese law.
U.S. service members on Okinawa were already under a ban against off-base drinking when the accident occurred and a breathalyzer test showed that Mejia’s blood-alcohol level was 0.18 — six times the legal limit in Japan, local police said.
In response to the incident, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida once again summoned U.S. Ambassador Caroline…