Okinawa car crash sparks US troops alcohol ban in Japan


Okinawa car crash sparks US troops alcohol ban in Japan

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The US base in Okinawa houses tens of thousands of troops

The US military has banned all soldiers stationed in Japan from drinking alcohol after one of its servicemen was involved in a deadly crash on Okinawa island linked to drink driving.

US troops on Okinawa have also been told to stay on base or at home.

The Marine crashed his truck into a minivan on Sunday, killing the local driver of the other vehicle.

Okinawa hosts more than half of the US troops in Japan – locals have long resented the military presence.

In a statement, the US military confirmed that one its service members had been involved in the accident and said that "alcohol may have been a factor".

The military also announced "mandatory training to address responsible alcohol use, risk management and acceptable behaviour" for all its troops across Japan.

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Japanese police said the Marine was three times over the legal blood alcohol limit, Reuters reports.

He is under arrest charged with negligent driving resulting in death, police say.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption In 2016, tens of thousands of people joined protests against the US troops

The US presence on Okinawa in southern Japan is a key part of the security alliance between the two countries. The base houses about 26,000 US troops.

There are plans to relocate part of it to a less-populated area of the island, but many Okinawans want the air base removed altogether.

They object to the alleged crimes and accidents attributed to the troops. Resentment at the US presence has been growing among many locals, particularly since the 1995 gang-rape of a 12-year-old girl by US troops.

In 2016, the murder of a woman was linked to an ex-Marine employed at one of the bases, also leading to a temporary ban on alcohol as well as a midnight curfew.

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