Japan-based servicemembers hit with alcohol ban after fatal crash on Okinawa

US service member arrested in connection to fatal Okinawa road accident

The USFJ announcement, which was distributed from Yokota Air Base in Kanagawa Prefecture, added that US service personnel on mainland Japan are prohibited from purchasing or consuming alcohol on or off base.

In 2016, the U.S. Navy banned sailors from drinking in Okinawa, both on and off base, after Petty Officer 2nd Class Aimee Mejia was charged with drunk driving after driving the wrong way on a freeway and crashing head-on into two cars, causing two serious injuries, the Washington Post reported. The Japanese driver, 60, of the civilian truck was taken unconscious to a local hospital, where he died an hour and a half later. He confirmed Japanese media reports that a breath test indicated the Marine had an alcohol level that was three times the legal limit.

Additionally, U.S. service members serving elsewhere in Japan are prohibited from purchasing or consuming alcohol on or off base, the U.S. military said in a statement.

U.S. military personnel in Okinawa have been restricted to base and banned from drinking alcohol after a Marine was arrested over a crash that killed a Japanese man. The driver, allegedly a member of the US Marine Corps, was drunk at the moment of the crash and is being questioned.

On Sunday Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commanding general of U.S. Marine Forces Japan, said in a separate statement: "I would like to convey my deepest regret and honest condolences to the family and friends of the Okinawan man who died as a result of this accident".

About 25,000 USA troops are stationed on the southern Japanese island.

"Commanders across Japan will immediately lead mandatory training to address responsible alcohol use, risk management and acceptable behavior", a USFJ statement said.

But crimes by U.S. personnel have been a frequent irritant in relations.

The island accounts for almost 75 per cent of land allotted for United States bases in Japan even though it has a fraction of the country's total area.

Across mainland Japan, all US service members are also prohibited from purchasing or consuming alcohol, on or off base. A majority of Okinawans, according to polls, agree the base should be moved out the prefecture.



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