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U.S. general bans off-base boozing in Okinawa

Dec. 3, 2012 - 11:50AM   |   Last Updated: Dec. 3, 2012 - 11:50AM  |  
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The military's top commander in Okinawa has ordered a strict off-base alcohol ban for all U.S. troops on the Japanese island.

Effective immediately, troops in Okinawa are barred from buying alcohol on base from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily, and they are prohibited from buying or consuming alcohol anywhere off-base except inside their homes, according to the new policy set by Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck, the Okinawa area coordinator for U.S. Forces Japan and commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force. Additionally, troops are now prohibited from leaving their bases or off-base homes if they are under the influence of alcohol.

"Service members found with a blood alcohol content of .03 percent or greater will not be allowed off-base liberty," Glueck said in a news release announcing the new policy. It's not immediately clear how that will be enforced.

The new ban applies to all Marines in mainland Japan as well, including those stationed at Camp Fuji and Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni. It will remain in effect until further notice, officials said.

This is the latest in string of new liberty restrictions U.S. commanders in Japan have put into place to address a spate of recent incidents involving military personnel and local civilians. Alleged missteps range from sexual assault to drunken trespassing.

The new policy comes less than two months after commanders instituted an 11 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew for all U.S. troops in Japan. Top Navy commanders also have restricted alcohol consumption, ordering a no-drinking 10 p.m.-to-8 a.m. curfew that includes all on- and off-base private homes and quarters.

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