Four American youths who attempted to kill random Japanese motorists by way of a rope strung across a road have been arrested for attempted murder after they succeeded in knocking a woman off her bike and fracturing her skull.
The four youths, consisting of three boys and a girl aged 15-18, were all family members of US armed forces stationed at Yokota Air Base, a US air force base on the outskirts of Tokyo.
The group decided to amuse themselves by stringing a rope across a 6.5 metre wide road in order to interfere with traffic, and soon got their desire when a 23-year-old Japanese woman riding a moped was thrown from her bike after riding into the rope.
She cracked her skull on the ground in a violent fall, suffering a severe skull fracture.
The four were apprehended by police at the scene, with bystanders and security cameras witnessing the incident; police soon charged them with attempted murder.
The group admitted their crimes, saying “We didn’t think it would be a big thing” and “We didn’t think people would think of this as attempted murder.”
US armed forces stationed in Japan enjoy a variety of special privileges, and Japanese police actually had to secure their permission to arrest two of the perpetrators who lived on the base.
The US forces impudently refused to hand over the pair for over a week after the initial arrest warrant was served, perhaps thinking police would not renew it after its week-long validity expired. However, Japanese police merely renewed it and after several days of further wrangling the base finally agreed to hand over the pair to face charges.
US bases in Japan, though an integral part of the nation’s defence policy and strategic US alliance, are extremely unpopular in the localities they operate, chiefly thanks to the highly criminal tendencies of the average US army serviceman as compared to the general populace.
A series of high-profile rapes, murders and robberies has ensured US armed forces have had to become increasingly careful lest they further erode the already sceptical public support for the bases, a lesson Yokota apparently failed to learn…