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HOME  > Past issues  > 2008 May 28 - June 3  > U.S. sailor and Japanese government brought before court for taxi holdup
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2008 May 28 - June 3 [US FORCES]

U.S. sailor and Japanese government brought before court for taxi holdup

May 30, 2008
The first oral proceedings were held on May 29 at the Yokosuka District Court in Kanagawa Prefecture in a damage lawsuit filed by a Japanese taxi driver against the Japanese government and a U.S. sailor who is serving a prison term for refusing to pay taxi fare and injuring the driver in Yokohama City in 2006.

Tabata Iwao, the 62-year-old taxi driver, filed the civil suit on February 13.

On the morning of Sept. 17, 2006, Brandon Paul Booker, a former petty officer second class in the Navy, after heavily drinking in Yokosuka and Yokohama cities with his colleagues rode in Tabata’s taxi in Yokohama. When Booker arrived at JR Yokohama Station, he did not pay the fare.

Tabata asked the sailor to pay shouting, “Money, Money!”

The sailor punched Tabata in the face and broke his nose.

Booker, 23, is serving a 14-month prison term.

In the hearing, Tabata’s lawyers stated that the Japanese government must also be held responsible for the negligence of its duty to oversee U.S. servicemen in Japan.

They also insisted that in any cases of misconduct by U.S. military personnel who are “off-duty,” victims must be adequately compensated just as in cases of misconduct while “on official duty.”

After the hearing, Tabata said, “The defendant and the U.S. Navy never apologized to me. Unless the Japanese government takes tough measures against U.S. servicemen’s crimes, they will be repeated,” he said.
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