Ban on drinking in off-base bars on Okinawa, around Iwakuni and Fuji to be lifted
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Starting Monday, off-base bars no longer will be booze-free zones for active-duty servicemembers on Okinawa and at two Marine Corps installations on mainland Japan, officials announced Friday evening.
However, the Cinderella liberty remains in effect for all ranks.
The ban on consuming alcohol outside the base fence lines, ordered by Marine Lt. Gen. Richard C. Zilmer on March 3, will be lifted at noon Monday. The order by Zilmer, acting as the Okinawa Area Coordinator and the senior U.S. general on the island, affected all services on Okinawa and extended to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni and Camp Fuji on mainland Japan.
According to a Marine Corps press release, Zilmer made the decision to lift the off-base alcohol ban Friday with the support of leaders from all military branches.
“Local bar owners have been working closely with Marine Corps leaders in a cooperative effort to promote responsible drinking in off-base establishments,” Col. Charles S. Dunston, the III Marine Expeditionary Force chief of staff, was quoted as saying in the release.
“This cooperative effort includes allowing the U.S. military’s uniformed courtesy patrols access to local establishments frequented by U.S. service members,” he said. “The lifting of the alcohol restriction can and will be reconsidered if future incidents/events indicate that such action is warranted.”
The current midnight-to-5 a.m. curfew remains in place for all servicemembers and will be periodically reassessed by senior service leaders, the release said.
“During curfew hours, servicemembers are limited to U.S. military installations or the off-base residences of Status of Forces Agreement personnel,” the release explained. “Service members are authorized to transit between U.S. military installations or off-base residences of SOFA personnel via privately owned vehicle, military supported transportation or commercial taxi.”
The curfew does not apply to civilians or family members.
The curfew and alcohol ban for servicemembers was imposed by Zilmer following a two-week “period of reflection” ordered for all Americans connected with the military on Okinawa and the two Marine bases on the mainland.
That order was the result of a series of highly publicized allegations of crimes committed by Americans in February, including two alleged rapes. It restricted all personnel — active duty, civilians and their families — to the bases or their off-base homes.