The US military has banned all service members in Japan from drinking


The controversial United States military presence on the southern Japanese island often meets stiff opposition from the population and triggers large-scale protests.

"Until further order, the consumption of alcohol is prohibited" for all the american military in the country, as well in their foundations as in public places such as bars, clubs and hotels, according to a press release of the american forces in Japan.

The announcement follows the arrest of a U.S. Marine who reportedly was involved in a fatal traffic accident in Naha, the Okinawa prefectural capital, early on Sunday. He was three times over the legal limit in the breath test, they said.

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

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As a result of the crash, U.S. Forces Japan has restricted all 25,000-odd U.S. service members on Okinawa to stay on their base or in their homes and has banned them from consuming alcohol.

The last major protests against the U.S. military presence in Okinawa took place in mid-2016 after a serviceman was sentenced two-and-a-half years of hard labor for raping a Japanese woman that year, while another was charged for the murder and rape of another Okinawan woman.

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

Last year, U.S. Forces Japan commanders imposed a similar alcohol ban in Okinawa after a 21-year-old service member crossed the center line on a highway and crashed head-on into two cars shortly before midnight. The driver was killed, and a U.S. Marine was injured when their vehicles collided Sunday. Alcohol is believed to be a possible factor in the crash. The fatal accident also comes as Okinawans are protesting the planned relocation of the US Marine Corps base at Futenma-which is in the midst of a densely populated area-to off the coast of Henoko, a fishing village. Okinawa has been the site of a U.S. military bases for decades, a presence which has caused the societal and environmental degradation of the island for over 70 years.