Brittany Alkonis, the wife of a Navy lieutenant who was jailed in Japan after he allegedly lost control of a vehicle following a medical emergency, says the reaction she and her family faced from the Department of Defense (DoD) was “unimaginable.”
Navy Lt. Ridge Alkonis was reportedly stationed at Yokosuka Naval Base when he was struck by altitude sickness while operating a motor vehicle on Mt. Fuji. A crash ensued that resulted in the tragic deaths of two people. Alkonis was locked up as a result, being found guilty by Japanese courts in Oct. 2021.
— America's Newsroom (@AmericaNewsroom) January 13, 2023
“As we were driving down the mountain, he was mid-conversation with my daughter and he just blacked out,” Brittany said to show host Pete Hegseth during a Sunday appearance on FNC. “My daughter tried to wake him. It did not work. We were in a car accident. That did not wake him at all. He never hit the brake.”
Brittany asserted that despite being tragic, her husband’s actions were not criminal.
“He was convicted of negligent driving resulting in death or injury, but a medical emergency like a heart attack, a stroke, a seizure, that is not a crime in America, and it is also not a crime in Japan…” she said. “He should not be in jail right now.”
In her eyes, the DoD had “abandoned” her husband entirely.
Now that other U.S. officials are stepping in to address the matter, Brittany is hoping good news will soon come her way.
“I think the big hurdle that we had for quite some time was that the case was in the hands of DoD, and they were not going to step in,” she said. “They told me their job is to protect Japan and the alliance, and I cannot assume that what’s in my husband’s best interest is in the Navy’s and the alliance’s best interest.”
Officials who have reportedly directly involved themselves in the case include National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel, as well as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
“President Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris have both spoken to the [Japanese] prime minister about this… I was able to speak with Rahm Emanuel this week,” Brittany explained. “He took that time out during a very busy week with Japan, and he said that he’s cautiously optimistic that they’ve found a way forward.”
Republican Sen. Mike Lee (UT) has expressed public support for the Alkohnis’ plight:
I’m grateful to my Senate colleagues for standing with the family of Navy Lt. Ridge Alkonis. As Lt. Alkonis sits in a Japanese prison on the eve of Christmas, we cannot leave his family wondering how they will feed themselves or keep a roof over their heads. #BringRidgeHome pic.twitter.com/XcMEougFhA
— Mike Lee (@SenMikeLee) December 22, 2022
Meanwhile, numerous friends and supporters of the imprisoned lieutenant are calling for his return to America.
Family, friends and supporters of Navy Lieutenant Ridge Alkonis rallied outside the White House demanding he be brought back to America. The rally happened while President Biden was meeting with the Prime Minister of Japan. pic.twitter.com/TANGPnxivF
— Ryan Schmelz (@rschmelztv) January 14, 2023
Another U.S. military official who has yet to be freed after being jailed by a foreign nation is former US Marine Paul Whelan, who was left behind in Russia after the marijuana-smoking WNBA player Brittney Griner was freed in exchange for the U.S. release of infamous Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout.