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Restrictions Placed on US Military in Japan Following Fatal Accident


FILE - Anti-U.S. base protesters hold placards with a slogan that reads: "No to Henoko new base" during a rally in Tokyo Nov. 29, 2015. Protesters showed their strong support to Okinawans after the Japanese government took the local government in Okinawa to court in mid-November.

Following a fatal traffic accident in Okinawa, the U.S. military in Japan has restricted all U.S. service members on Okinawa to base and their residences.

In addition, the U.S. military said in a statement Monday that service members on Okinawa and mainland Japan are prohibited from "purchasing or consuming alcohol, on or off base."

Police in Okinawa arrested Nicholas James-McLean, a 21-year-old Marine, Sunday on suspicion of negligent driving resulting in death.

Kazuhiko Miyagi of the Okinawa police confirmed Sunday that the Marine's breath test indicated an alcohol level three times the legal limit.

The U.S. military said in the statement that "alcohol may have been a factor" in the accident.

Hidemasa Taira, who was 61, died when his vehicle and the serviceman's truck collided.

The Marines have expressed their "sincere condolences" to the victim's family and have promised to cooperate with the investigation.

The names of the two drivers have not been released.

The U.S. has a number of military bases in Japan with tens of thousands of U.S. troops. Many of the troops are stationed on Okinawa, where there has been longstanding opposition to their presence.

According to the military statement, all U.S. service members and government civilians in Japan will be required to attend "mandatory training to address responsible alcohol use, risk management and acceptable behavior."

"When our service members fail to live up to the high standards we set for them, it damages the bonds between bases and local communities and makes it harder for us to accomplish our mission," the statement said.

The U.S. military is in Japan as part of a joint security treaty.

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