Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) called upon U.S. officials to negotiate with their Japanese counterparts and secure the release of Lt. Ridge Alkonis. While serving in Japan, Lt. Alkonis was involved in a deadly car accident that the U.S. Navy determined was caused by the sudden onset of Acute Mountain Sickness. Subsequently, the Japanese court sentenced him to three years imprisonment. Sen. Lee expressed his deepest sympathies for the victims’ families while noting that an American servicemember should not be disproportionately punished for an accident resulting from a medical emergency.
Of Lt. Alkonis’s imprisonment, Sen. Lee said, “I find it nothing short of inexcusable that an American who experienced a medical emergency should be treated so poorly by an allied nation that he’s protecting.” Sen. Lee continued, “I call on my colleagues to join me in the effort to bring Ridge home.”