U.S. service members in Japan forbidden from buying or drinking alcohol after fatal crash

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – The U.S. military has imposed an alcohol ban on service members in Japan following a fatal crash involving a Marine on Okinawa.

A release from U.S. Forces, Japan states that all U.S. service members in Okinawa are restricted to base and to their residences, with alcohol consumption prohibited until further notice. That ban includes homes and public locations such as bars, clubs, and hotels.

Across mainland Japan, all U.S. service members are also prohibited from purchasing or consuming alcohol, on or off base.

The new restrictions come after a crash Sunday morning in Naha where an Okinawan man was killed when his vehicle was struck by a truck being driven by a Marine. Alcohol is believed to be a possible factor in the crash.

A statement from U.S. Forces, Japan said, “The vast majority of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians in Japan serve honorably and make great contributions to the defense of Japan. 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. We are committed to being good neighbors with our host communities and we are thankful for the support we receive from them every day.”

The Navy imposed a similar ban in June 2016 after several alcohol-related incidents, but later eased the restrictions.

Commanders across Japan are expected to lead mandatory training to address responsible alcohol use, risk management, and acceptable behavior.

All military members and U.S. government civilians in Japan will be required to attend.