Lt.Gen. Nicholson apologizes Gov. Onaga for fatal accident
Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, the head of U.S. forces in Okinawa, visited the Prefectural Office Monday afternoon to apologize for a fatal drunk driving accident caused by a U.S. Marine Sunday.
Talking to Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, Nicholson expressed his condolences to the victim’s family and promised to take more steps to prevent any recurrence of similar incidents.
However, Onaga disagreed, saying “We can only conclude that preventive steps against drunk driving the U.S. military promised to take in the past have not been enough. They seem to have been utterly unreliable.”
“It’s impossible for us to call (U.S. service members) good neighbors,” he continued.
Nicholson stated that he has no excuse for Sunday’s accident. He vowed to make more efforts to reduce accidents and incidents.
The U. S. Military announced Monday a ban on drinking and buying alcohol and restricted active military personnel going off-base except when commuting between the bases and their off-base homes.
Before the meeting between Onaga and Nicholson, Vice Governor Moritake Tomikawa summond Tsukasa Kawada, the Ambassador in Charge of Okinawan Affairs, and Koichiro Nakajima, the Defense Director-General, to the prefectural office to lodge an official protest, and ask to prevent reoccurrence.
He asked why a military-registered truck was used during off-duty hours, and asked the state to pay compensation to the victim’s family as soon as possible.
Nakajima replied that he’d like to contact the victim’s family first and coordinate with them properly.
After meeting with Onaga, when a reporter asked Nicholson why a military-registered official truck was used, he answered, “It’s under investigation.”