YOKOSUKA, Kanagawa -- A U.S. Navy able seaman was arrested Thursday for the murder last month of Tokyo taxi driver Masaaki Takahashi, Kanagawa Prefectural Police said.
Olatunbosun Ugbogu, 22, a Nigerian national serving as an able seaman with the United States Navy, was arrested for robbery and murder.
Ugbogu admits to the allegations.
Police said that in Yokosuka on the night of March 19, Ugbogu fatally stabbed 61-year-old Takahashi in the neck and failed to pay the taxi fare of roughly 17,000 yen he had built up with the Tokyo taxi driver.
During a questioning session with the Kanagawa Prefectural Police on Wednesday, Ugbogu allegedly confessed to killing Takahashi.
Police used this statement as the basis for requesting a warrant for the sailor's arrest early Thursday and the Japanese government asked U.S. military authorities to hand him over to local police. A joint Japan-U.S. committee agreed to hand over Ugbogu to the Kanagawa Prefectural Police.
Ugbogu was transported from the Yokosuka Naval Base together with a U.S. military escort to the Yokosuka Police Station and handed over to police, who served him with the warrant for his arrest.
Before the seaman was arrested, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Thomas Schieffer and Rear Admiral James Kelly, commander of U.S. Forces, Japan, paid a visit to Yokosuka Mayor Ryoichi Kabaya and offered an extremely rare apology made before an arrest had taken place.
Schieffer said he wanted "to express our deep regret and sorrow at the murder that occurred here and we also pledge to you full cooperation of the United States government in bringing the perpetrator to justice. We want to do whatever we can to reassure the people of Yokosuka that we deeply regret this and we are going to try to take measures" to prevent a recurrence, he said.
Kelly humbly apologized.
"On behalf of the U.S. Navy, please accept my deepest apology for this cruel and shameful incident, and the trouble, fear and sorrow it has caused," he said. "You have my solemn promise that a maximum and continuing effort will be made to prevent the recurrence of such a heinous crime in Yokosuka, or anywhere else in Japan."
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