Commander's statement on new Okinawa liberty restrictions
Statement, attributed to III MEF commander Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, on new liberty restrictions on Okinawa:
1. In my role as Okinawa area coordinator as delegated by commander, United States Forces Japan, this lawful general order is hereby published.
2. Situation: To ensure that all status of forces agreement (SOFA) personnel understand their roles as representatives of the United States in Okinawa, Japan, I am directing all U.S. armed forces personnel, and encouraging all other SOFA-status personnel, to observe a period of unity and mourning by curtailing off-installation activities as directed below.
2.A. Definition: “SOFA-status personnel” includes members of the U.S. armed forces, the civilian component in the employ of, serving with, or accompanying the U.S. armed forces (including contractors with SOFA status), their respective family members and other personnel to whom SOFA status has been granted.
3. Mission: Effective 0730, Friday, 27 May 2016, All SOFA-status personnel permanently or temporarily assigned to installations in Okinawa, Japan, or who are transiting through these locations in a TAD/TDY/leave status, will observe a period of unity and mourning until 0730, 24 June 2016.
4. Commander’s intent: My intention is for all SOFA status personnel to consider their roles as ambassadors to Japan and good neighbors with the people of Okinawa, as reflected in their personal conduct during the period of mourning. Additionally, we honor and mourn the tragedies affecting the victims of two heinous crimes.
4.A. Two recent highly reported incidents involving SOFA-status personnel serving in Okinawa highlight the negative consequences of unlawful personal conduct. This behavior adversely affects not only the victims of crime, but also the relationship we maintain with our Okinawan neighbors and the important bilateral relationship we share with the government of Japan. These incidents do not accurately represent the behavior of the more than 50,000 SOFA status personnel living in Okinawa who lawfully, peacefully and positively engage with our Okinawan neighbors on a daily basis.
4.B. I direct all military leaders and civilian supervisors to reinforce and discuss with their personnel our responsibilities for honorable service and behavior.
4.C. These measures are not intended as punishment. Rather, I seek to reaffirm our responsibilities as residents of Okinawa while demonstrating our deepest sympathies for the victims and their families.
5. Concept of operations: All U.S. armed forces personnel shall observe the following restrictions. Additionally, all other SOFA-status personnel are highly encouraged to observe the below restrictions:
5.A. For personnel who live on-installation, the consumption of alcoholic beverages off military installations is prohibited. For personnel who live off-installation, alcoholic beverages may only be consumed on a military installation or in that SOFA-status member’s personal off-installation residence, including as an off-installation hotel room when authorized (e.g., TAD.TDY; temporary lodging for PCS, etc.).
5.B. Off-installation gatherings of SOFA-status personnel for celebratory events (e.g., hail and farewell, mess night, “wet-down,” hotel-room party, etc.) are prohibited.
5.C. Patronizing off-installation bars and clubs is prohibited. While SOFA-status personnel may consume meals at off-installation restaurants, they may only do so if the establishment’s primary business is the sale of food. Alcohol may not be consumed.
5.D. Off-installation liberty secures at midnight for all ranks. SOFA-status personnel who live off-installation must return to their personal off-installation residence by midnight, including at an off-installation hotel room when authorized. SOFA-status personnel who live on-installation must return to their home installation by midnight.
5.E. “Military installations” refers to U.S. bases, posts, stations, recreational facilities, etc., located on Okinawa.
6. Coordinating instructions: Exceptions to this policy are delegated to O-6 level commanders for approving pre-existing and pre-planned obligations or special events on a case-by-case basis.
6.A. Personally operated vehicles, entering and departing military installations after midnight, and before 0500, will be subject to sobriety checkpoints.
7. This policy has no effect for SOFA-status personnel in mainland Japan or in a leave or liberty status outside of Okinawa.
8. Administration and logistics: Commanders are required to personally disseminate this message to all SOFA-status personnel.
9. Any violation of this order by a member of the U.S. armed forces may result in punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice or administrative action. All other SOFA-status personnel, including family members, are reminded of their obligation to support this order.