Sen. Lee pushes for U.S. Navy lieutenant’s release from Japanese prison
WASHINGTON — Sen. Mike Lee joined friends and family of U.S. Navy Lt. Ridge Alkonis this morning at the U.S Capitol, days after they demonstrated in front of the Utah State Capitol for the service member’s release.
Alkon is serving a three-year prison sentence in Japan for passing out while driving and crashing into parked cars, killing two Japanese people. The U.S. Navy says it was an accident caused by a medical condition.
Lee traveled to Japan just a couple of weeks ago and spoke with Japanese government officials on the idea of bringing Alkonis home.
“I traveled to Japan and had conversations with Japanese government officials around the idea that we need to bring Ridge home, and I believe there’s shared enthusiasm and a shared understanding on both sides of the pacific ocean this needs to happen, and it needs to happen quickly,” Lee said.
Lee spoke on the importance of Alkonis’ release not just to his friends and family but for the relationship between the United States and Japan.
“We’ve got to get that taken care of. That relationship is too important to have something like this get in the way, and that’s one of the many reasons we need to bring Ridge home,” Lee emphasized.
The Senator stated that 95% of similar cases in Japan result in fines being paid but no prison time, which is why they’re working on getting Alkonis similar consideration even after his conviction.
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