U.S. Marine arrested for home intrusion in Naha

A U.S. Marine Corps corporal stationed at Camp Hansen in Okinawa was arrested Friday by local police on suspicion of trespassing onto a fourth floor apartment veranda in Naha.

Okinawa Prefectural Police say the suspect, 27-year-old Anibal Barraza Ortiz was drunk when he was arrested, according to the Okinawa prefectural police department. The suspect told the police that he mistook the apartment for the house in Colombia where he had lived since they looked similar.  Ortiz allegedly broke into the veranda of the apartment around 4:25 a.m. Friday.

According to Prefectural police, a woman in her 20’s who lives in the apartment made an emergency police call, saying that she saw a man trying to break into the veranda and that he fled through a back street.  Police responding to the call found a man with similar features to the woman’s description walking on a street near the apartment about three hours later.

The man was arrested after he admitted trespassing on the balcony, although he initially denied the charges. Later he also admitted that he knew that the apartment was not his, but he could not explain why he had climbed onto the balcony.

According to investigators, Ortiz said that he was on his way to Australia for a vacation, but his trip had been delayed, and he had checked in a hotel in Naha for one night, and then drank whisky and been in a pub near his hotel.

The incident occurred during a curfew period when all U.S. service members are required to be on base. The U.S. military imposed the curfew from 11 p.m. until 5 a.m. every day for all U.S. servicemen in Japan, including those temporarily visiting the country, after two U.S. sailors were arrested in mid-October on charges of raping and injuring a Japanese woman in Okinawa.

A drunk U.S. serviceman arrested in the early morning hours of Nov. 2nd for allegedly intruding into a home in the village of Yomitan in Okinawa and assaulting a junior high school boy who lives there, and another incident Nov. 18th when another drunk U.S. serviceman was arrested on charges of home intrusion in Naha City brought the military’s restrictions on off-base drinking.

Following the latest incident, Okinawa Governor Hirokazu Nakaima showed strong resentment and said he will lodge a protest with the U.S. side. The night curfew and other measures taken by the U.S. military to prevent crimes by its troops in Japan have not been effective at all. Naha Mayor Takeshi Onaga also criticized the latest incident and urged the U.S. military and the Japanese Defense Ministry to explain details and offer an apology.