Senator Calls Out Foreign Ally for Disrespecting ‘Tens of Thousands’ of Americans

Senator Calls Out Foreign Ally for Disrespecting ‘Tens of Thousands’ of Americans

Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah took aim at one of our longtime allies over its disrespect of our military.

Sen. Lee blasted Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for his country’s treatment of U.S. Navy Lt. Ridge Alkonis, who was involved in a very unfortunate car accident that killed two Japanese citizens in 2021.

Sen. Lee posted a series of messages on X about the Alkonis’ situation on Tuesday, blasting Japan for disrespecting Americans.

“Japan imprisoned U.S. Navy Lt. Ridge Alkonis for a tragic car accident caused by an unforeseen medical emergency,” the senator wrote. “What kind of ally does that? Japan.”

Lee, added, “[Kishida] refused to intervene, and in so doing showed disrespect to the tens of thousands of Americans keeping Japan safe.”

Lee went on, writing, “Japan should treat U.S. military personnel no less favorably than Japan requires Djibouti — home to Japan’s only foreign base — to treat Japanese personnel. If Japan treated our personnel like it requires Djibouti to treat Japan’s, Lt. Alkonis wouldn’t have spent one day in prison.”

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“It shouldn’t have taken so long to bring Lt. Alkonis home,” Lee added.

“We can’t forget that, until we review and update our Status of Forces Agreement with Japan, our service men and women serving there will remain vulnerable to the same mistreatment received by Lt. Alkonis.”

Lt. Alkonis had already served about half of his three-year sentence for his accident. While a majority of his time was served in Japan, he was released from a Japanese prison earlier this year and transferred to the U.S. to serve the remainder of his sentence, which was to be determined by the U.S. Parole Commission. He was released on Jan. 12, the New York Times reported.

In May 2021, Alkonis was driving home from Mount Fuji with his wife and three children when he fell asleep at the wheel.

Unfortunately, after he lost consciousness, Alkonis slammed into five cars outside a restaurant, resulting in the two fatalities.

Then he pleaded guilty to negligent driving, paid the victims’ families $1.6 million, and wrote an apology letter.

But during his trial, Alkonis said that the he was suffering from “acute mountain sickness” from the high elevation of the region he was driving through.

Alkonis asked for Joe Biden and the U.S. government to intervene, but he spent several months in a Japanese prison while the U.S. government dithered.

The naval officer was finally released early this year with a prisoner transfer program between the U.S. and Japan.

But good on Sen. Lee for calling out Japan’s treatment of our service man. And it is appalling that he is one of the only U.S. senators to speak out in support of Lt. Alkonis.


This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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