YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The general order restricting alcohol consumption here lifted Monday for all nonmilitary personnel and spouses at Yokosuka Naval Base.

But active-duty servicemembers still are barred from bellying up to the bar during certain hours — on base and around Yokosuka — as per a revised order from Commander, Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ). And Kitty Hawk Strike Group sailors now must have liberty buddies.

The Jan. 19 order already achieved its “desired effect” by imposing “very strict standards” during the first weekend it was enacted, said CNFJ spokesman Jon Nylander.

“The focus of the order is now on the uniformed military population,” Nylander said.

The revised order prohibits all active-duty Navy personnel in Yokosuka from drinking off base from midnight to 6 a.m. Monday through Friday and from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and federal holidays. On-base drinking stops an hour later, at 1 a.m. on weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends and holidays.

Additionally, all active-duty members of the Kitty Hawk Strike Group must abide by a 1 a.m. curfew and have approved liberty-buddy paperwork to drink alcohol off base.

“We know the liberty-buddy system works because when sailors look out for each other, they have a good time and make it back to the ship safely,” he said.

It also means that a sailor can’t go for a beer with Japanese friends without taking a liberty buddy along, as only Status of Forces Agreement personnel qualify as buddies.

The liberty-buddy system has been imposed at Yokosuka before. In August 2002 a string of crimes by Kitty Hawk sailors while off base led to liberty restrictions and a curfew.

The restrictions are part of a move to stop the recent rash of liberty incidents in Yokosuka, including the Jan. 3 robbery and fatal beating of a 56-year-old woman and a recent local school break-in. Both incidents reportedly involved alcohol and U.S. sailors, according to Japanese police reports.

Conduct is a strategic issue, CNFJ Rear Admiral James Kelly stated in an e-mail.

“We can exhibit nothing but the highest standards of personal discipline and conduct at all times. This is a strategic issue and poor conduct can have a significant and lasting effect on the alliance and our continued presence here,” Kelly stated Tuesday. “Our goal is, and will continue to be, zero liberty incidents.”

Shore patrol staffing is being boosted in order to enforce the new rules, Nylander said.

“If a shore patrol encounters a sailor on liberty consuming alcohol, he will be asked to identify himself and if he is a strike group sailor, he’ll then have to identify his liberty buddy,” Nylander said. “Strike group sailors who fail to obey the order may be punished under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.”

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