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MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — The off-base establishment Datchas was placed off-limits Friday to active-duty military members at Misawa.

In a news release posted Friday on the base’s Web site (www.misa wa.af.mil) Col. Joel Malone, 35th Fighter Wing vice commander, said the restriction is effective immediately and is to last through April 15, “at which time I will determine if the order needs to continue.”

Base officials, in a written response to a Stripes’ query, said the temporary order was issued to “allow the base time to confirm reports of improper activity at the establishment.” They would not elaborate on the specific nature of those reports.

Malone, in his online statement, said the restriction was “to ensure the health, safety and welfare of military members.” The mandatory order prohibits all active duty members — assigned, attached or deployed to any unit at Misawa — from entering or patronizing Datchas.

Anyone found to violate the order may be subject to punitive disciplinary action, Malone notes in the release.

Datchas — its sign says “Russian restaurant” in Japanese — is located in the first block immediately outside the main gate, among the row of establishments on the right before the traffic light. It currently is the only off-base restaurant or bar off-limits to Misawa military members, according to base officials.

While the place was closed Friday afternoon, it was open in the evening. Red lettering on the store front says American patrons are welcome.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
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