US military imposes Japan-wide alcohol ban on service people following fatal crash in Okinawa

Source:Xinhua Published: 2017/11/20 21:38:13

Following an alleged drunk-driving accident involving a US Marine Corps member in Japan's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa that killed a 61-year-old local man, all US service members in Japan have been prohibited from consuming alcohol, the US forces said Monday.

The ban applies to service people consuming alcohol on or off bases, the US forces said.

Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga, a staunch proponent of lessening the base hosting burdens of the people of Okinawa, said of the incident that he is at a loss for words.

"The same thing happens again and again. I am lost for words," Onaga was quoted as saying.

According to a statement released by the US forces in Japan, service people in Okinawa have been restricted to their bases and residences and the consumption of alcohol has been banned in their homes and public facilities such as hotels, bars and clubs.

On Japan's mainland, according to the statement, US military personnel have also been prohibited from buying or drinking alcohol, also for an indefinite period of time.

On Sunday morning in Okinawa's capital city of Naha, a local man in his 60s was killed when a two-ton truck driven by a 21-year-old US Marine under the influence of alcohol, struck his vehicle.

Prior to his arrest on suspicion of negligent driving resulting in death, the Marine admitted he had been drinking beer inside a US base.

In a statement the US forces in Japan said: "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."

Local observers have said that it is abundantly clear that anti-US base sentiment is steadily on the rise in Japan's southernmost prefecture that hosts the vast majority of the US military bases in Japan.

Such incidents, experts on the matter have said, along with those of aggression toward locals, military accidents, noise and pollution, are a contributing factor in the growing ill-feeling toward the US military from local citizens.

Posted in: ASIA-PACIFIC

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