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U.S. military in Okinawa eases restrictions on off-base drinking

34 Comments

The U.S. armed forces in Japan on Wednesday announced that restrictions on off-base drinking by its personnel in Okinawa have been eased.

The restrictions were put in place in December 2012 following a spate of incidents involving inebriated American soldiers that included acts of vandalism and assault. The restrictions were loosened last year to allow off-base drinking -- a maximum of two alcoholic drinks -- from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m.

According to the new police, U.S. military personnel may now drink as much alcohol as they like, except between midnight and 5 a.m., the U.S. military said in a statement.

However, local residents have expressed uneasiness at the loosening of restrictions, NHK reported. Since November, there have been four reported incidents concerning rowdy soldiers, as well as one alleged hit-and-run case.

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The J news is full of talk the last couple of days about a man knocked off a moped and killed, and part(s) of a car found on the road, matching the make and model of a car owned by a marine, who admits to driving along that stretch of road at that time.

It seems as though the Okinawa police are hedging their bets, ie they will commit only to statements about continuing to investigate the case.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Great idea, close down Futenma, and get the 8-9000 marines off of Okinawa thereby easing the burden of the Okinawan people. Then news like this won't be so high profile.

Oh, wait. Self-serving politicians like Onaga decided to play on emotions instead of logic, and will only offer the people of the prefecture the status quo. For shame.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Great idea! What could possibly go wrong?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

What could go wrong when few drunk marine see a girl walking alone on the road.

-4 ( +6 / -10 )

Few drunk U.S. marines who think they are victorious. Should just overthrow Abe and drive away those soldiers and their bases. Not like China ( if ever) can conquer Japan in an hour as USA can not approach the islands in the same time.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This is the worst time of year to do this, a lot of homesick young men and women who won't be home for the holidays.

I hate to say this but this is a serious disaster waiting to happen. They should have waited until after the new year to institute a policy change like this.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Strict policies or not, we are talking about thousands of young men. There will be incidents regardless.

But if you don't want them blowing off steam and having some fun with alcohol and clubbing, then you just don't want them. So send them home.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

"However, local residents have expressed uneasiness at the loosening of restrictions, NHK reported. Since November, there have been four reported incidents concerning rowdy soldiers, as well as one alleged hit-and-run case."

I'd be more concerned with all the drunk oyaji after the bounenkais. Just yesterday I saw one screaming at an old lady on the train for no reason that I could see. When she got off at the next station the beet-faced old man lied down on the seat (top half, anyway... Legs were still hanging off) and passed out. It's okay to be wary, but not to discriminate. They'll be under tight enough scrutiny as is.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Do not think it will make a difference. The type of person who would rape is not likely to obey the drinking policy in the first place.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

I am very happy to hear that the lower ranking personnel can finally enjoy a little bit more freedom and hopefully poor down some stress.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

"Great idea, close down Futenma, and get the 8-9000 marines off of Okinawa thereby easing the burden of the Okinawan people"

Yes, the "burden" of being kept out of major trouble, like being attacked / invaded for the past 70 years with the help of the Marines.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Are you suggesting US Military officials will have to make drinking rules to Jaoanese ???

Might be a good idea seeing as how Japanese in general don't know how to hold their alcohol very well.

Do not think it will make a difference. The type of person who would rape is not likely to obey the drinking policy in the first place.

Same could be said for any person of any country....I personally dont like what you are inferring but then you are talking from experience I am sure.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The US Marines on Okinawa are defending Okinawa one drink at a time.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The drink establishments welcome the news

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Same rules as the sailors have here in Sasebo. When is the last time Sasebo was in the news for one of those incidents? Years.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

close all US military bases, mobilize immediate departure and let Japan be taken over by China and Russia. That will make the critics very happy. Motherland says hello and welcome. while that is happening, all US foreign personnel depart Japan too, they dont' want US foreigners anyway. Then get back to the US and kick out all Japanese nationals including those who are descendents or bloodline of Japanese. This will really make the nationalist extremely happy. Sorry but that is just not going to happen or ever will. Live with it. Japan started the WW2 with Pearl Harbor sneak attack and can NEVER be trusted again by anyone. They prove this over and over and over.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Drunk Marines cause trouble? Gee, what a surprise.

Don't get me wrong, drunk soldiers can be trouble anywhere in the world, but Marines are in a class of their own. I've seen roughnecks (oil field workers) back down from Marines.

Not that all soldiers are trouble making drunks. They aren't. In fact, most aren't, but if there is a long term trend of trouble from a particular area by soldiers, I would be looking at the officers and questioning their methods and leadership philosophy.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Looks like a lot of people in Okinawa are under the impression that American "gun-jin" are all about drinking so much they can not longer control their actions. I have been in the American Military 10 years, and 6 of those years in Japan. The service members I know find the acts of the service members who rape, invade peoples homes, and destroy property absolutely disgusting, and indefensible, and they do not represent how most of us feel about Japan. I welcome this news. I do not think everyone should be punished because of the actions of a few who had their brain replaced with dog shit at some point in their military career. I have nothing but love and respect for Japan and their people. I will be moving back soon for work, to Okinawa this time. If I see and gun-jin acting in a disrespectful way, I will be the first to try to put an end to their misbehavior.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

ArtistAtLarg eDec. 11, 2014 - 03:15AM JST They aren't. In fact, most aren't, but if there is a long term trend of trouble from a particular area by soldiers, I would be looking at the officers and questioning their methods and leadership philosophy.

There is a perception of high number of crimes committed by U.S. military, dependent and civilian personnel. However, the per capita crime rate for U.S. personnel in Okinawa is lower than that of the local populace.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Great, I'll tell China that they can attack after 12:00am and before 5:00am......

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

"Yes, the "burden" of being kept out of major trouble, like being attacked / invaded for the past 70 years with the help of the Marines."

Do people actually believe this? Or do they just expect the rest of us to believe?

Japan has not been that close to war with anyone since WWII. And its not because there was some death penalty deterrent brought by U.S. soldiers stationed here. The soldiers can get as drunk as they want. Still, no one is about to attack. They can go home and it still won't matter. Far more daunting than some U.S. military bases in Japan is just the bodies of water between Japan and any potential enemy.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@sfjp330 - There is a perception of high number of crimes committed by U.S. military, dependent and civilian personnel. However, the per capita crime rate for U.S. personnel in Okinawa is lower than that of the local populace.

Thank you for the information sfjp330. I was not aware of that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I do not think everyone should be punished because of the actions of a few who had their brain replaced with dog shit at some point in their military career.

You choose the wrong career path if you don't want to be held responsible or accountable or punished for the actions of others.

There is a perception of high number of crimes committed by U.S. military, dependent and civilian personnel. However, the per capita crime rate for U.S. personnel in Okinawa is lower than that of the local populace.

Lower? It's actually minuscule in comparison, sadly however the argument that one will NEVER get away from is the one that the media likes to drag out time and time and time and time again, "If they weren't here it wouldn't happen" .

Making comparisons does no good for either side's arguments either as one ends up on parallel lines.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even though the military makes up for far less crimes committed on Okinawa, everything they do will always be under the microscope. Is it fair? No, of course not. Does knee-jerk blanket punishments like curfews and restrictions solve the issue? Of course not because if they did then there wouldn't have been any incidents after the first curfew (back in 2005 for Air Force) was instated. But, that's life being stationed overseas.

Looks like a lot of people in Okinawa are under the impression that American "gun-jin" are all about drinking so much they can not longer control their actions. I have been in the American Military 10 years, and 6 of those years in Japan. The service members I know find the acts of the service members who rape, invade peoples homes, and destroy property absolutely disgusting, and indefensible, and they do not represent how most of us feel about Japan. I welcome this news. I do not think everyone should be punished because of the actions of a few who had their brain replaced with dog shit at some point in their military career. I have nothing but love and respect for Japan and their people. I will be moving back soon for work, to Okinawa this time. If I see and gun-jin acting in a disrespectful way, I will be the first to try to put an end to their misbehavior.

From my personal experience living on Okinawa, being married to an Okinawan, and constantly attending functions with the in-laws like weddings, shimi, beer fest, Oban, birthdays, holidays, etc.....I was under the impression that most Okinawans were also all about drinking so much they can no longer control their actions.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If Okinawa goes to be an independent country, it's people will get real safety and freedom.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Why compare crime of Okinawan and US marines? Okinawa is not in USA. Okinawan people are not US citizens.

We have to wait if this new drinking rules are effective or not, But sorry for future victims by foreign soldiers,

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why is this news? As a warning to women walking home at night or to give good news to bar owners. This is the type of news for on-base newspapers/newsletters.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yubaru you do not understand me at all. I think the drinking regulations are silly at best. With the draw down in US forces the bad apples can be discharged. American military are people and there is bad people. We have the same problem with the SDF. My point is if you can not trust an adult military member with alcohol then they should not be a member of the force. FYI my objection to the American bases is about sovereignty of our nation. I grew up in occupied Okinawa and it is still occupied today. We want our land, seas and air back.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

YuriOtaniDec. 12, 2014 - 08:05AM JST I grew up in occupied Okinawa and it is still occupied today. We want our land, seas and air back.

Your in a minority. A recent poll found that less than five percent of Okinawans were pro-independence. Majority do not want independence, but a greater voice for future of Okinawa. For the U.S. base in Japan, how much of it is honestly still necessary, what is just plain obsolete, and what can be done away with, without really missing it? The military is the military, one thing they could do, is make these U.S. military facilities in japan into closed posts, no fraternization, no association, fly in, fly out, and that's it. For that matter, you could replace some of the facilities with an aircraft carrier or find some place where no one lives to begin with.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Move marines to Iwakuni marine base? Kintai Bridge and many mote beautiful old historical places soldiers can tour for a while. They can visit Hitoshima, too. There, marines do not have to depend on drinking for pleasure.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

sfjp330 fyi I use to be in the SDF and consider myself a Japanese national. As for the bases, Japan can give the word and close them. As for your no fraternization it is just as silly as Abe's vision for Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Are there something else they can enjoy beside drinking in Okinawa marine bases? In Camp Pendleton in Orange County, CA, marines can attend Orange Coast College, Cal State U Fullerton, even UC Irvine, to enjoy their evenings studying,

rhewre is

0 ( +0 / -0 )

They can work towards a degree with the University Of Maryland. I know they have presence on the US bases in Japan. They enjoy all of the things they did in America. The heavy drinking is a symptom of something else.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is no Disneyland, Knot's Berry Farm, MLB Stadium in Okinawa. Plenty beaches in Okinawa. So is in Orange County. Drinking habits may be reduced.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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