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Sailors' Drinking Ban in Japan Follows Suspected DUI Crash

Image: Sailors' Drinking Ban in Japan Follows Suspected DUI Crash
Sailors man the rails as the USS Ronald Reagan, a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered super carrier, departs for Yokosuka, Japan from Naval Station North Island in San Diego, California August 31, 2015. The Reagan is replacing the USS George Washington as part of a complicated three-carrier swap that exchanges crews for ships, saving the Navy millions in moving costs. (Mike Blake/Reuters)

By    |   Tuesday, 07 Jun 2016 06:07 AM

The U.S. Navy issued a drinking ban for sailors stationed in Japan on Monday after a sailor there was arrested after a car crash on suspicion of drunk driving.

The car crash on Japan's southern island of Okinawa injured two people, Reuters reported.

"For decades we have enjoyed a strong relationship with the people of Japan. It is imperative that each sailor understand how our actions affect that relationship and the U.S. Japan alliance as a whole," Rear Admiral Matthew Carter, commander of U.S. naval forces in Japan said in a statement.

The incident increased tensions that had previously mounted after a civilian working for the U.S. military was arrested in connection with the death of a 20-year-old Japanese woman.

About 18,600 U.S. sailors are stationed in Japan.

Opposition to the U.S. military presence in Okinawa also flared in 1995, after the rape of a Japanese schoolgirl by U.S. military personnel, Reuters said.

The new restrictions announced Monday prohibit U.S. Navy personnel from drinking at all and restrict them from leaving base except for necessary errands, the Navy Times reported.

The measures were announced after Petty Officer 2nd Class Aimee Mejia, 21, was arrested Sunday after driving the wrong way on a freeway and crashing into two vehicles, Navy Times reported. Mejia wasn't hurt in the crash, but two others suffered minor injuries.

The restrictions on off-base liberty will remain in effect until face-to-face training is completed with all personnel, Stars and Stripes reported. The alcohol ban will be in place until all personnel understand the impact of irresponsible behavior on the U.S. alliance with Japan.

Civilians, contractors, and family members are not subject to the rules, but Navy officials have asked for their voluntary cooperation.

“The behavior of all Americans in under the microscope right now,” CNFJ spokesman Cmdr. Ron Flanders said, according to Stars and Stripes.

Twitter users shared mixed reactions to the incident.





Related Stories:


Okinawa Base to Relocate: Despite Protests, US Military Operations to Move
Navy Ship Aground Off Coast of Okinawa, but No Injuries Reported

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The U.S. Navy issued a drinking ban for sailors stationed in Japan on Monday after a sailor there was arrested after a car crash on suspicion of drunk driving.
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2016-07-07
Tuesday, 07 Jun 2016 06:07 AM
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