crime

U.S. sailor gets life in prison for killing Japanese taxi driver

58 Comments

The requested article has expired, and is no longer available. Any related articles, and user comments are shown below.

© Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

58 Comments
Login to comment

Should of been hung instead, only life in prison seems to light.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hope those voices in his head keep him company for the rest of his life in a very cold, hard place.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I hope those voices in his head keep him company for the rest of his life in a very cold, hard place.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, this is what happens when you do something bad in a different country. Life in prison is kind of proper for this situation. Born in Nigeria, escapes to the US and joins the military for somewhat easier citizenship? Most Africans from war torn corrupt areas don't know how to even deal with peaceful non violent areas. He was young and sadly, still very ignorant to the world he entered in to.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

calls for tougher punishment for American service members who break the law.

Two sets of rules for law breakers? One for the locals and one for the rest. I'm not questioning the severity of this sentence as this guy deserves it. I just don't like the way Japan discriminates its laws. A country's law is the law and should apply to everyone regardless.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If it was America they outta hang him or leave him in jail for life, that is the best punishment for a mentally illed killer. In Japan, to give a foreigner the death penalty would be bad for international relations, based on Japanese Historical crimes against humanity. They should just start deporting criminals back to there own country to serve there life terms.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

a crime that led to calls for tougher punishment for American service members who break the law.

That's super xenophobic! taking nothing away from he killed someone and got what he deserves but to say "oh he's japanese he only gets 10 years, oh he's a foreigner, gets life" is total BS.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This punishment is NOT harsh at all. Consider the consequences of his actions. Not only did he take the life of an innocent person, but he has contributed to the negative stereotype of the American military that so many here believe. Thinking of it that way, this creep got off far too lightly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It LEAD to calls people. Obviously they were not heeded or else he would be sitting on death row. This guy got off light by Japanese standards. By which I mean this crime, I believe, had a financial end to it. They don't like it when you mess with business.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

ppl are confused about the "tougher punishment" thing

as far as im aware, any soldier that was caught committing a crime was usually dealt with internally by the army at the base. I think the call for "tougher punishment" was for the Japanese courts to be allowed to decide punishment.

please correct me if im wrong though :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What are you talking about gogogo you really think a life sentence for this guy is BS. You are ignorant as it it gets. I am on active duty here in Yokosuka, I think its BS a guy has the nerve to do some dumb BS like this in the first place and ruin it for everyone else, let alone take a life. It would be so great to be a judge punishment would be DEATH = DEATH. I know 2 wrongs dont make a right, but in this case I think an exception could be ok'd. The voices would agree....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

IF I WERE JUDGE.... I think the voices in my head would tell me. Excuse me Mr. Ugbogu the voices have found you guilty and you are here by punished to death by firing squad..... hahahahaha

0 ( +0 / -0 )

y2pbigdog

i believe gogogo meant by the bs comment is that a japanese in the same situation would not get a life sentence. which i also believe to be true. yes. it should be a life sentence, but it should be the same for all, not just the gaijin.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hearing these comments above makes me glad I never joined the stinking US military, I prabably would've deserted too. I think the transfer of US military to Japanese authorities should stop at once. The US military should be responsible for punishing wrong doing in Japan, not Japan authorities. Just deport all US criminals back to America to serve there time.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AK619- He's not an American, he joined to become a citizen, but never completed the process. So why would he be sent to America? Why would a military member feel a sense of unity with a criminal and a deserter? Most of the service members I know have pride, dignity and abide by the laws.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The only reason he didn't get the death penalty is the SOFA agreement. In my honest opinion, he deserves to be hung.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So he will spend the rest of natural life in a Japanese prison? Or An American one?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

He's US military property by swearing in, so are you if your in the US. military. We have to punish our own, not other countries. The US military knows who they hire, and if they hired some guy with mental problems, then there responsible for the actions of there own. Its a shame that Bush even let a law like that go through, it should be revoked immediately if I was the President. Not to long ago, a Japanese punched a US service man off duty, then lied and sa the US service man punched him first. If there was not a camera that showed the Japanese had punch the US service man first, then perhaps he would have went to Japanese jail. Its the same for accused murder, let the US handle it with Japanese investigation reports and evidence, but the property stays in the US.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The US military obvious hired the African, because he may have went through proper US immigration procedures, so it dosen't matter if he was born in Africa, he was well documented enough to serve in the US military which sceens its applicants pretty dam well. Anyone who is in the uS military is your brother, and you should treat him as one. I can't believe the comments on this site from military folks, glad I didn't join the stinking US military, it has no unity. In war this African and others like him, could have been responsible for saving your sorry life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AK619- I understand what you're saying re: your punching incident, but this was murder. Not only that, this man was clearly guilty and he is a Nigerian citizen, which makes a big difference in this case. Japan has every right to punish him as they see fit with the Navy's permission. As far as the Navy missing this guy's mental issues? That's a joke, this guy just invented some excuse thinking he could get away with an insanity defense. Are you in the military or a U.S citizen? Your spelling is.....awkward. No offense meant, simple curiosity on my part.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We have to punish our own, not other countries.

If he breaks your laws in your country, fine, you punish him. If he breaks Japanese law in Japan, he should be dealt with under Japanese law. Same goes for any other country. By all means provide him with the best American military lawyers, give him all the support you think he should have: but follow the rules.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AK619- Once again, why would any decent person feel any unity with this cold-blooded murderer?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AK619 in the the three executions the other day one of them was a Chinese national. A foreigner...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Calls for tougher punishment would mean = what Japanese prisoners get, right?

Perhaps someone can confirm this, but it is my understanding that the US military provides for some additional comforts for servicemen who end up in Japanese prisons, for example, with additional food rations.

Normally in Japan, death sentences are reserved for someone who has killed at least two people. There was some case recently of someone who got it for a single killing, but I can't remember the details and it may have since been successfully appealed.

I wonder if this guy was assessed by a US military issue psychiatrist. I'd like to think so.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is the US military were talking about, the property belongs in the US. If he wasn't in the US military, lets just say some tourist came to Japan on a temporary visa, and killed some Japanese national, then I believe its OK for the Japanese to punish the killer by there own legal standards, but not US military property. I would revoke that old Bush law immediately if I was the President.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

i believe gogogo meant by the bs comment is that a japanese in the same situation would not get a life sentence. which i also believe to be true. yes. it should be a life sentence, but it should be the same for all, not just the gaijin.

Yes, that's very true...

This ruling is based upon public sentiment, ALL American's or Foreigners for that matter would feel the wrath.

That said... I have no sympathy for scumbags like this waste of human life, who go around killing innocent people, he got what he deserved...

Have fun there Mr. Ugbogu -Scumbag

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They should hang this sub-human piece of trash. Coward. His type shouldnt be allowed to set foot in this country. Hope he gets some "special treatment" on the inside! RIP to the cab driver.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AK619- Once again, Japan has EVERY right to punish this murderer as they see fit. He is a deserter and a monster and my only regret is that Japan is so reluctant to use the death penalty. A case like this certainly seems to call for the highest punishment under the law.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There's no telling what happened to this service men, he could off had special training to kill, you don't know what he did, or where he went.

I heard some military guys didn't get a chance to know him, he just happened to kill someone in a short time, just like the other sailor beat up some Japanese chick until she died in Yokosuka. The US military knows who they hire, you don't know what the Military could have done to them.

We are having a lot of problems with suicides and killings in America by US military returning back from war, because military personal coming back from Iraq are having a hard time shutting down there past killing. You don't know what that guy went through, or what the US military knew about him, thats why it should stay in the US for prosecution.

Its US military property and anything they hire or use.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm sure that IF he had some special forces training, the US and Japanese authorities would have taken that into account. If that were the case, I hope he would have received a far more severe punishment. I find it surprising that you feel qualified to comment on the military seeing that you have so little knowledge of the military, and your comments seem to be a little ignorant. Please take a few moments to learn about this case and the military before you comment, you're only embarrassing yourself so far.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AK619

You don't know what that guy went through, or what the US military knew about him, thats why it should stay in the US for prosecution.

There isn't even a shred of logic in this statement.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I,for one hope he lives a LOOONNNGGG Life and never again taste FreedomHe is a DISGRACE!!!Its just too bad he cant have the Pleasure of Life at HARD LABOR in Leavenworth Pententiary!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The man was judged by the laws of the country as he should have been.

Extra-territoriality is a thing of the past.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Umm Flatearther: "AK619- Once again, why would any decent person feel any unity with this cold-blooded murderer?"

He took an oath to serve the US and he served in the US Navy. I am a decent person, and I think he can be admired for that. I am not sure what you mean by "unity", but I think he deserves human rights just like the rest of us have. Anyway, it is all over now, and it appears that he got what he deserved.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Klein2- I was responding to AK619's comments that all military members should feel "unity" with a criminal who not only deserted the military and broke his oath but also chose to murder an innocent man in cold blood. Please read the entire thread to clear up any confusion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As far as human rights are concerned, his trial here in Japan was fair and just.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ak619-

You talk too much.

He is serving life now, and death penalty would have put some scare into the rest of the foreigners here in Japan. I believe Japanese courts have done their part as well as what was done by the United State Navy. Being a former service member, they handled it appropriately.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In Japan life means about 20 years behind bars before you are released. The death penilty is handed down to mostly killers of multiple victims, so he will be free to kill again after he returns to wherever they send him in about 2029!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The U.S. Navy in Japan said after the ruling that it has “full faith in the Japanese judicial system and is confident justice was served.”

In other words, thanks for not sending us a bill for feeding and housing this murdering moron for the rest of his worthless life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think the original comment about equal sentencing was aimed at the Japanese/Non-Japanese issue. Don't know if a Japanese national killing another Japanese national (taxi driver) would result in an automatic life sentence. Japanese courts seem to be very susceptible to the defendant who "reflects" on their actions. Then again, the local courts sometimes surprise you when they weigh up the heinous factor and send someone down for life.

Of course there is also another division among Japanese people. Those who are members of the old boys club (or who parents are) seem to get a lot lighter sentences than the rest of the smucks in this country. Don't know if this applies to crimes like murder, but you could probably find some examples if you looked hard enough.

With regard to the case in question, rather than pinning this guy as an American, I think you can only call him a US serviceman. If anything, I think the fact that this nut-job got through the selection process is a rather serious issue. Not exactly a poster boy for recruitment is he?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Olatunbosun Ugbogu" Nice to see diversity working so well.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I have to wonder about an untidy policy in which people from counties like Nigeria with notorious crime issues can become US citizens by joining the military or proclaiming themselves Jewish and going through Israel to end up in America.

run-on sentence which smacks of racism. you are card-carrying member of which organization?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Olatunbosun Ugbogu" Nice to see diversity working so well.

regrettably, diversity seems to be working too well for you and whatever tribe you come from, too. is it too late to revoke your ancestors green cards and send you back where you all came from?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

regrettably, diversity seems to be working too well for you and whatever tribe you come from, too.

Diversity has always worked well. It is a pity that diversity is vanishing as people alien to a culture are thrown in and allowed to continue to follow their native ways - like the creature who murdered that taxi driver. The situation should never have been allowed to have been possible to have taken place.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Good. he deserves it. Life for a life :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think that being this sailor was not an American citizen, the Jpn govt felt more comfortable throwing the book at him (and he deserved it in my opinion).. had he been an American citizen, maybe he would have gotten 10 yrs or so..

aw

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I do think the outreach program that results in Nigerian citizens serving in the US Navy is wonderfully inclusive, but might need a bit of tweaking...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wonder what Masaaki Takahashi's family receives out of this?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The end.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This guy was on a fastrack to being a US citizen because the US military will accept non US citizens into the US miliatry and then in like two years they are US citizens and bring all their families to the USA. You would wonder how sound a policy that is. I bet there is no onther country in the world where a foreigner can dress up in their military's uniform, have access to security information and carry or use weapons. What a stupid system.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Obviously, Hawkeye has no knowledge of how this system works.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The system of incorporating non-citizens into the military is a point of argument, for obvious reasons. Information is here: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/26/world/americas/26iht-military.4020881.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

he will be free to kill again after he returns to wherever they send him in about 2029

sounds like the perfect candidate for the army/navy

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A death sentence would have been a lot better for this guy. How is the taxi drivers family being compensated? Hopefully, The Navy will get their sailors under control but time will tell.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A death sentence would have been a lot better for this guy. How is the taxi drivers family being compensated? Hopefully, The Navy will get their sailors under control but time will tell.

Statements like these really make me laugh. Just shows how stupid the poster truly is. Do you truly believe that only a US serviceman would commit such a crime? The Navy doesn't need to 'get their sailors under control.' Anymore then the Japanese need to 'get their people under control.' After all, you're much more likely to be murdered by a Japanese person in Japan, then you are an American. I know that shocks racist idiots like yourself, but those are the facts. Having said this, I do have to agree with one part of the posters comment. The guy ought to have gotten the death penalty. Not because he was a serviceman, or because he is not Japanese, but because the crime truly deserved it.

Personally, I'd like to call for tougher punishments for everyone, Japanese and non-Japanese. They should be equally harsh on everyone. Not discriminate based on country of origin, or why they happen to be in the country. Only the crime should matter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Hawkeye at 07:17 AM JST - 1st August I bet there is no onther country in the world where a foreigner can dress up in their military's uniform, have access to security information and carry or use weapons. What a stupid system.

sharky1 at 08:37 AM JST - 1st August Obviously, Hawkeye has no knowledge of how this system works.

True. Non-US citizens in the US Military do not get access to sensitive information and do not even get security clearences and in some cases a weapon.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If this guy wasn't nutz, and if he was obviously the initiator and aggressor, the Japanese should hang him.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

another example of how low the US military must go to fill out the ranks to fight failed wars in the middle east. Recruiting non-citizens? With mental illness? Who is then trained to kill people by the military and ends up killing a taxi cab driver?

When this story broke the apologists for the military, you all know who you are, went on and on about there being doubt that one of theirs was a murderer. Until the credit card was announced. Then they shut up. Now you want this guy to hang for his crimes. Typical military cover up and then dump the offender when you cannot defend him any longer pattern. So predictable and so shallow

The DPJ will be sending half you out of Japan very soon anyway.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites