A Navy lieutenant is under investigation in connection with an incident on a flight from San Diego to Japan, officials from the Navy told NBC 7 on Sunday.
According to Japanese news reports, the Navy officer groped and punched a 19-year-old woman sitting next to him on a plane. The officer was taken into custody in Japan on charges of simple assault. He was arrested at an airport about 40 miles from central Tokyo.
It's the second U.S. serviceman arrested in Japan in less than a week. The Navy officer was handed over to U.S. authorities under the terms of the Status of Forces Agreement between the U.S. and Japan.
The Japanese government determined the case should be investigated by the U.S. Navy as the officer was on duty at the time of the alleged incident.
The lieutenant, whose name is not yet being released, was assigned to Helicopter Strike Squadron Five One based in Japan.
The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) is investigating to determine if there were any violations of the uniform code of military justice. In the meantime, the Navy lieutenant is in formal custody on base in Japan.
Sam Samuelson, the public affairs officer stationed at the Japan base, released a statement in response to the incident, saying, in part:
"The purpose of the investigation is to determine if there were any violations of the uniform code of military justice and then if it is determined that there were any violations then of course the Navy would take appropriate disciplinary action in the matter."
No charges have been filed. If charges are filed, they will be handled in military court.
The U.S. Navy is still investigating to find out exactly what happened.
It comes less than a week after the arrest of a 24-year-old American sailor accused of sexually assaulting a Japanese tourist while she slept in a hotel room on Okinawa. Phone calls to U.S. Navy's public affairs office in Japan were not returned at the time of the officer's arrest.