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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Sasebo Naval Base has decided to open some on-base bars and restaurants to Japanese nationals on Saturday nights.

The move is a departure from the norm in Japan, where bases only open for day-long special events, and is part of the base leadership’s “top priority” of engaging the host population, base spokesman Charles Howard wrote in an email to Stars and Stripes. It follows the Harbor View Club Card program, where base commander Capt. Charles Rock issued cards to about 300 Japanese supporters of the base, allowing them to bring in friends for dinner at the Harbor View Club.

This current initiative is aimed at a younger demographic.

“I’m not aware of anything similar being done at other bases,” Howard wrote.

The 8 p.m.-2 a.m. open-base nights, for pedestrians only, started Aug. 11 when more than 40 Japanese nationals came to enjoy the Galaxies complex, which includes a bar and nightclub, a Chili’s restaurant and a bar and grill, Howard said.

Entrants must use the main gate and are subject to search. They must be Japanese, with a picture ID, and be at least 18 years old — 20 if they plan to drink alcohol, Howard said.

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