Board to review Sasebo nightclub's 'off-limits' designation
August 20, 2005
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The base commander has ordered Club Flava in downtown Sasebo temporarily off-limits to Status of Forces Agreement personnel, subject to review by the base’s Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board, officials said.
Base commander Capt. Tilghman Payne “determined that sufficient cause exists to declare Club Flava temporarily off-limits,” base spokesman Charles T. Howard said Monday.
Although officials declined to list specific infractions, Howard said a board consisting of Sasebo shore command personnel “is expected to soon review the matter.”
Typically, he added, the board considers whether an establishment is suspected of “serving alcoholic beverages to underage personnel, if an inordinate amount of liberty incidents are occurring on the premises or whether the business is cooperating with base officials.”
Once an investigation is finished and the review board makes its recommendation, specific areas of noncompliance might be made public, officials said.
Club Flava owner Yuji Fujino said he was surprised to hear that his establishment has been put off-limits.
“I don’t know why this happened so suddenly,” he said.
Fujino said base officials have not contacted him. “If I knew the reason, then there is a way to correct it, but I just don’t know.”
He said about 70 percent of his customers are base residents, some of whom act as DJs, and the restriction will hurt his business greatly.
“My friends who are military-related have been DJ-ing but they won’t be able to come,” he said. An attraction to his club is the music the American DJs play, and without them his business will hurt, Fujino added.
Dale Sonnenberg, U.S. Forces Japan deputy staff judge advocate, said Monday that base commanders are authorized to issue such directions. They apply to military members as well as SOFA-sponsored civilians, he added.
“Does this mean a civilian violating the order would be put in jail?” Sonnenberg said. “Probably not.” However, he added, it does mean an individual ignoring the order could face administrative consequences.
Howard said the review board’s findings will be forwarded to Payne and a letter will be delivered to Club Flava to give it “a certain amount of time to correct any noted deficiencies.”
Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.