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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Drinking Ban In Effect For Okinawa Troops

Military personnel in Okinawa, Japan have officially been banned from drinking booze ANYWHERE off the base in an effort to crack down on troublesome behavior.

In fact, they will have to undergo a breathalyzer test when entering the base.

As well, all military drivers with a blood-alcohol level of 0.03 and higher will not be allowed to leave the base - which is fine, as Japan's law has a legal limit of 0.03%.

Having chatted with a few US military personnel recently from around the world, some senior staff lifers and others just up for a tour of duty, all are troubled by the ban, but accept it. They, as I do, feel that it is a bloody shame that poor judgement by a few individuals has put a damper on things. In my opinion, the US military is treating these men whom they expect to die for their country are being treated as children. Yes, the troublemakers have been acting as children, but I do agree that something has to be done to stem the negative flow of press - to protect the civilians and the military personnel if they won't or are unable to police themselves.

One of my suggestions a week ago to a gentleman in Afghanistan was to ensure that there was a buddy-system in place. While I won't assume they listened to ME, that buddy system is now in place as of November 30, 2012, requiring troops to be accompanied by a 'battle buddy' when going to off-base bars and other places that serve liquor. That means no military personnel are to be alone. Safety in numbers in the hope that one or the other will help prevent stupid actions from occurring.

Included in the ban, was news that any passengers or pedestrians may also be tested for high blood-alcohol levels and sent home (to the base) if over the limit.

And, should the thirst military personnel wish to simply stay on base and drink, on-base drinking establishments such as clubs or shops will no longer be able to sell alcohol past 10PM.

Despite an 11PM-5AM curfew, the incidents have continued to embarrass the military and add further fuel to the resentment felt by the Japanese.

On November 30, 2012, another US Marine from Camp Kinser in Okinawa was arrested after crashing his car into three other vehicles, injuring two people, though not seriously. Police have said they detected alcohol on his breath.

It is not know if he was above the legal blood-alcohol limit or merely eating liquor-chocolates... of course, you would have to eat a lot of chocolates to be considered drunk, but not too many to have alcohol-breath. That's just my opinion, of course.

The drinking bans et al relate back to a recent alleged rape of an Okinawa woman by two U.S. sailors.

Andrew Joseph

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