Navy sets uniform rules for alcohol consumption in Japan, Okinawa
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — If you’re in the U.S. Navy stationed in Japan, you have to stop drinking booze in public by 2 a.m., according to a Navy policy issued Thursday.
Citing strategic-alliance reasons, Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan enacted an alcohol consumption policy for all active-duty Navy personnel — ashore or afloat, visiting or temporarily assigned — in Japan and Okinawa, according to a CNFJ news release.
The policy is “effective immediately,” the release stated.
The new rule prohibits alcohol consumption between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. every day at all bars, restaurants, commercial establishments and public places such as parks, fields, streets, public or commercial buildings throughout Japan.
It does not extend to civilians or active-duty Navy who are drinking in their government or private homes.
Although Thursday’s policy is the latest Navy move in a number of liberty actions targeting alcohol-related incidents, the policy actually eases restrictions slightly at Yokosuka Naval Base and Naval Air Facility Atsugi. Active-duty Navy personnel formerly had a 1 a.m. cutoff time for public alcohol consumption.
While Naval Air Facility Misawa and Sasebo Naval Base both enacted “liberty card” policies in the last year, this will be their first alcohol consumption policy. It’s also a first for naval installations on Okinawa.
Several more restrictive policies came about in the past year after a spate of off-base alcohol-related Navy crimes, including the Jan. 3 fatal beating of a Yokosuka woman by a USS Kitty Hawk sailor who had been drinking all night.
“Any alcohol-related incident has the potential to negatively affect the alliance between Japan and the United States,” said CNFJ commander Rear Adm. James D. Kelly in a written statement. “The revised policy is taken to maintain the focus of all active-duty U.S. Navy personnel throughout Japan on our forward-deployed mission and to reemphasize the responsible use of alcohol.”
The new policy essentially puts all Navy personnel in the same boat, CNFJ spokeswoman Hanako Tomizuka said.
“The policy is for all naval personnel, whether forward-deployed here or just visiting,” Tomizuka said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re in Tokyo, skiing in Hokkaido, or visiting Hiroshima, you have to stop drinking at this hour.”