Japan-based sailors are subject to Navy’s zero-tolerance policy
It’s unclear whether Commander, Naval Forces Japan officials are using the speedier administrative separation process to remove sailors who violate the Navy’s anti-drug policy, as opposed to the more conventional court-martial channel, a spokesman said Saturday.
In any case, offenders don’t get a second chance under a long-standing fleet guideline that’s been in place since the early 1980s.
“We’ve always had a zero-tolerance policy for drug use,” said Cmdr. John Wallach, a CNFJ spokesman at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan.
“You don’t get a second chance for drug use. That’s not a CNFJ policy. It’s one policy that applies to the entire Navy.
“I can’t tell you [the administrative separation process] is happening. But there’s nothing different about being in the Navy in Japan than it is being in the U.S. or Europe. Drugs are drugs. One chance and you’re gone.”
A different approach is typically taken toward sailors abusing alcohol, he said.
Punishments vary depending on the gravity of individual circumstances.
“You’re allowed to drink alcohol if you’re of age since it’s legal,” Wallach said. “Is it one chance and gone? Just depends on the situation and what alcohol got you into. It would be determined on a case-by-case basis.”
He said CNFJ officials use a Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program called “Right Spirit,” which emphasizes responsibility and accountability while promoting healthy choices to drinking.
“We call it the deglamorization of alcohol,” he added.
“It’s a Navy-wide program that provides alternatives for single sailors that don’t involve alcohol.
“There’s definitely a concerted, aggressive effort in the Navy to deglamorize and discourage it.”
According to its Web site, the Right Spirit campaign is aimed at all hands, regardless of rank or rate.