- The US military has barred troops in Japan from drinking alcohol or leaving their residences after a US Marine in Okinawa was accused of killing a local man in a car crash.
- The Japanese police said the Marine had three times the legal limit of alcohol in his blood at the time of the crash.
- The US has 50,000 troops in Japan, but drunken-driving incidents breed resentment among the local population.
The US military has indefinitely barred service members from drinking alcohol after a US Marine fatally struck an Okinawa man in a collision of two vehicles Sunday in which “alcohol may have been a factor,” according to a statement.
The US Forces Japan also declared all service members “restricted to base and to their residences” after the crash. A Japanese police official told Reuters the 21-year-old Marine had three times the legal level of alcohol in his blood at the time of the crash.
US service members in Japan have bred resentment among the local population with DUI convictions and alcohol-related deaths. About half of the US’s 50,000 troops in Japan live in Okinawa.
“Commanders across Japan will immediately lead mandatory training to address responsible alcohol use, risk management and acceptable behavior. All military members and U.S. government civilians in Japan are required to attend,” the statement said.
“The Defence and Foreign Ministries have lodged a stern representation to the U.S. forces in Japan and the U.S. embassy in Japan, asking for the enforcement of discipline, prevention of recurrence and sincere response to the bereaved,” Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular news conference on Monday, according to Reuters.
The US maintains a large military presence in Japan and South Korea partially to contain North Korea and balance the regional influence of China.