Alcohol ban for all US troops in Japan

AFP
US forces in Japan banned all personnel from consuming alcohol after a fatal drink-driving accident on Okinawa island, where sentiment against the US military bases runs high.
AFP

US forces in Japan banned all personnel from consuming alcohol after a fatal drink-driving accident on the island of Okinawa, where sentiment against the presence of US military bases runs high.

A US Marine crashed his vehicle into a mini-truck at an intersection on Sunday, killing the 61-year-old Japanese driver.

The breath test of the Marine, aged 21, showed an alcohol level that was three times the legal limit. He was arrested and charged with negligent driving that resulted in death, police said.

All US servicemen stationed in Japan are now banned from drinking, both on and off base, said the US military.

In Okinawa, American personnel are also restricted to base or to their homes.

“When our service members fail to live up to the high standards we set for them, it damages the bonds between bases and local communities and makes it harder for us to accomplish our mission,” said the US military.

Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said Tokyo made an immediate complaint about the case to the Americans and demanded that the US military enforce strict discipline and take preventive steps.

“It is extremely regrettable that this accident happened even though the Japanese government has repeatedly asked them for the thorough implementation of preventive measures and enforcement of disciplines,” Suga said.

The US has several military bases in Japan and stations about 47,000 troops in the country as part of a joint security treaty. But crimes by US personnel have strained relations with local residents.

Okinawa accounts for about 75 percent of land allotted for US bases in Japan.


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