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Alcohol Banned For U.S. Forces In Japan After Fatal Car Crash

Ping Monkey

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Alcohol Banned For U.S. Forces In Japan After Fatal Car Crash

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/11/20/565363074/alcohol-banned-for-u-s-forces-in-japan-after-fatal-car-crash


After a Japanese man was killed early Sunday in a car crash involving a U.S. service member, U.S. forces in Japan are prohibited indefinitely from purchasing or drinking alcohol.

Police in Okinawa say the service member "had an alcohol level that was three times the legal limit" at the time of the collision, according to Reuters. The military has stated that "alcohol may have been a factor" in the crash.

On the same day as the crash, U.S. Forces, Japan said that service members on the island of Okinawa are restricted to the base and their homes.

"Until further notice, alcohol consumption is prohibited. This includes in residences and public locations such as bars and clubs, and hotels," the military said in a statement. "Additionally, U.S. service members on mainland Japan are prohibited from purchasing or consuming alcohol, on or off base."

The major U.S. military presence on the island has long been a source of tension, as The Two-Way has reported. Last year, a former U.S. Marine was accused of raping and killing a woman, igniting large protests. In 1995, three service members were accused of gang-raping a Japanese girl.

Okinawa's governor, Takeshi Onaga, met with Marine Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson to lodge a protest about the crash, which killed a Japanese citizen. According to Japanese state broadcaster NHK, "he said he is outraged that an accident like this has happened again and that a valuable human life has been lost," and he asked for the U.S. military's "full cooperation with Japanese investigators and demanded measures to prevent a recurrence."

Nicholson expressed condolences and "bowed deeply in apology," NHK reported.

According to Stars and Stripes, police in Okinawa have arrested the service member, identified as Lance Cpl. Nicholas James-McLean, "on suspicion of negligent driving resulting in death and driving under the influence of alcohol."

The alcohol ban took hold immediately, and commanders in Japan are also going to be leading training on responsible alcohol consumption, according to the U.S. Forces, Japan.

"The vast majority of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians in Japan serve honorably and make great contributions to the defense of Japan," the military statement reads. "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."

The Marine base on Okinawa is in a densely populated area. And as NPR's David Welna has reported, long-established plans to move the base to another part of the strategically located island are showing signs of moving forward.

At the same time, as David has reported, it's worth noting that 70 percent of Okinawans think that the base should be moved onto mainland Japan. They think they shoulder more than their share of the burden of U.S. military presence there.
 

Blackadder1916

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This is nothing new for US military in Japan, command wide bans on purchase/consumption of alcohol and liberty/leave restrictions have been imposed before.  Last year (2016) consumption of alcohol was banned following several high profile alcohol related vehicle offences and the murder of a local by an American on Okinawa.  Days after the ban was lifted there were alcohol related incidents involving Americans that again pissed off the locals.

The alcohol ban took hold immediately, and commanders in Japan are also going to be leading training on responsible alcohol consumption, according to the U.S. Forces, Japan.

The previous bans also included "training on responsible alcohol consumption".  Once every member of the command received the training the bans were usually lifted.  I would not categorize this as "group punishment", but a reminder to all members that serving in Japan has unique challenges (both individually and collectively as representatives of their country), one of which is not being typical "ugly American" drunken dicks.
 

mariomike

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November 30, 2017

USFJ to relax alcohol restrictions instituted after fatal crash on Okinawa
https://okinawa.stripes.com/news/usfj-relax-alcohol-restrictions-instituted-after-fatal-crash-okinawa
“The revised rules, which take effect at 4:30 p.m. Thursday local time, allow servicemembers to purchase alcoholic beverages on base and drink them in their on- or off-base homes.
The purchase or consumption of alcohol off-base is still not permitted with the exception of one's own off-base residence."


OP:
Last year, a former U.S. Marine was accused of raping and killing a woman, igniting large protests.


"Dec 1, 2017 - TOKYO — A court on the Japanese island of Okinawa sentenced a former United States Marine to life in prison on Friday after convicting him of the rape and murder of a 20-year-old Japanese woman."
https://www.google.ca/search?q=okinawa+us+marine&dcr=0&source=lnt&tbs=cdr%3A1%2Ccd_min%3A12%2F1%2F2017%2Ccd_max%3A12%2F2%2F2017&tbm=
"The case caused outrage among locals about the presence of the U.S. military on the southern Japanese island."


 
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