US Navy slaps drinking ban on 18,600 sailors in Japan, ends liberty
TOKYO, June 6 (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy slapped a drinking ban on sailors stationed in Japan on Monday and halted off base liberty after police arrested a U.S. sailor on the southern island of Okinawa on suspicion of drunk driving following a car crash that injured two people.
“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 press release on Monday.
The United States has 18,600 sailors stationed in Japan.
The latest incident came as the U.S. military observes a 30-day mourning period at bases on Okinawa after an American civilian working for the U.S. military there was arrested on suspicion of dumping the body of a 20-year-old Japanese woman.
Renewed anger among residents in Okinawa at the U.S. military presence threatens a plan to relocate the U.S. Marines’ Futenma air base to a less populous part of Okinawa, which was agreed in 1995 after the rape of a Japanese schoolgirl by U.S. military personnel sparked huge anti-base demonstrations.