USNinJapan2 Do you have any statistics to back up your claim that civilians/contractors are responsible for as many liberty incidents as military? I have been in Yokosuka for over 12 years as military, contractor, and GS. I haven't really seen an abundance of incidents involving civilians. Now, when it comes to what rules can be enforced on civilians the base is very limitied. You mention the civilian clothes policy but that is only enforcable for civilians when they are on base, once they go out the gate, nothing they can do. Now, as part of SOFA civilians have to respect shore patrol's and base security authority. They can not subject non-military to restrictions as that authority comes from the UCMJ. In the past they have attempted to apply restrictions to civilians but have been swiftly rebutted because there is no authority to do that. This curfew is unfair for the 98% of the Active Duty that are properly behaved and respectful. Japanese media is spotlighting every little thing right now because it is big news. The patrols in Naha are more for political show than anything. If somebody wants to stay out past curfew there are plenty of places to hide and the "leadership" knows this. They just want people to see that the military is out there trying to police it's own.
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The driver seems to be genuinely sorry for what happened, but the fact is that he should be considered a "professional" driver and be held to a higher standard. Unlike in Japan, where "professional" drivers are pretty much given a license to drive however they want to with very little fear of being held responsible for accidents. He had every right to say "NO" to driving due to being too tired. The article only says that he was tired from a long night of work, it doesn't say if he was working for the travel company or another job. I did not have any connection to any of the people hurt on the bus, so I can't really say if 1 year in prison is "enough", but it seems to be a bit shorter than I would expect.
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