US Navy slaps drinking ban on sailors in Japan

Tokyo, June 6 (IANS) The US Navy on Monday banned its sailors stationed in Japan from drinking in response to the arrest of an American sailor in Okinawa on a suspected DUI charge.

According to officials, the indefinite ban applies to all sailors based in Japan or transiting through, the Japan Times reported.

“We have recognised a problem, we’re owning it, and we’re doing everything we can to ensure that every one of our sailors understands how important our behaviour is to the alliance and to our relationship to the people of Japan,” said Ronald Flanders, spokesman for Naval Forces Japan.

All sailors will be confined to their bases unless they are billeted to in-town accommodation.

Those who live off base will be allowed to travel to and from work, schools, gas stations, grocery stores and the gym. Other activities were prohibited by the order and subject to military law.

The restrictions are some of the most sweeping affecting off-duty behaviour by US sailors in Japan in recent years.

On Saturday, Petty Officer 2nd Class Aimee Mejia, who is assigned to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, was arrested after allegedly driving a car on the wrong side of the road, hitting two cars and injuring two people.

She is being held by Japanese police on suspicion of drunken driving.

In March, an American sailor was arrested following the suspected rape of a Japanese tourist at a hotel in Okinawa. He pleaded guilty.



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