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US Navy Bans Alcohol Consumption in Japan After Drunk Driving Incident

  • VOA News

FILE - US military helicopters flying over the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Base in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The Navy has seen increased pressure in Okinawa where residents are calling for the removal of U.S. bases

FILE - US military helicopters flying over the US Marine Corps Futenma Air Base in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The Navy has seen increased pressure in Okinawa where residents are calling for the removal of U.S. bases

The U.S. Navy said Monday it has banned its personnel in Japan from drinking and restricted off-base activities after a sailor in Okinawa was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

The Navy has seen increased pressure in Okinawa where residents are calling for the removal of U.S. bases after several high-profile incidents involving service members have made headlines in recent months.

The latest incident, Sunday night, saw Petty Officer 2nd Class Aimee Mejia arrested after she allegedly drove on the wrong side of a freeway and crashed her car into two vehicles, slightly injuring two people, police spokesman Takashi Shirado said.

Following the drunk driving episode, U.S. sailors throughout the entire country have been banned from drinking alcohol indefinitely, the Navy said in a statement.

"These measures are not taken lightly,'' said Rear Admiral Matthew Carter. "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.''

The U.S. Navy had already instituted a midnight curfew for sailors and banned off-base drinking after a former U.S. Marine who worked on an American military base in Japan was arrested last month for alleged involvement in the disappearance of a Japanese woman police believe was raped and murdered.

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