US marine jailed 4 years for causing death of Okinawa man while drink driving

NAHA, OKINAWA - A Japanese court on Wednesday (April 11) sentenced a US Marine to four years in prison for killing a 61-year-old man in a car crash while driving under the influence of alcohol last year, reported Kyodo news agency.

Prosecutors had sought six years for Nicholas James-Mclean, 22, who is deployed to Camp Kinser in the city of Urasoe in Okinawa.

According to the ruling, James-Mclean, who was driving a military truck, ignored a red traffic light and entered an intersection in the city of Naha at a speed of 88kmh, hitting a light pick-up truck and killing its Japanese driver in the early morning of Nov 19.

Presiding judge Toshihiro Shibata said: "It was extremely dangerous and his negligence is serious. The defendant cannot avoid the prison sentence."

Prosecutors argued that James-Mclean drove the vehicle after drinking an excessive amount of alcohol and "caused the worst consequence", leaving no room for leniency as sought by the defence counsel, according to Kyodo.

He was three times over the legal limit for alcohol in a breathalyser test.

Okinawa is home to about half of the approximately 100,000 US service members, civilian base workers and their families stationed in Japan.