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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Fussa police recently handed out English-language fliers warning Yokota Air Base residents about the dangers of drunken driving, as police throughout Japan are cracking down on drunken driving.

With the headline “Drunk Driving must be eradicated!” the flier, handed out at Yokota’s Fussa Gate, focused primarily on the harsh legal ramifications of being arrested for driving under the influence in Japan.

Punishment for drunken driving, or inciting or aiding someone to drive drunk, can result in imprisonment with forced labor for up to three years and fines up to 500,000 yen ($4,272).

If a death or injury is caused as a result of drunken driving, the person responsible is considered to be driving “deliberately dangerous or malicious,” and can receive up to 20 years in prison with forced labor, according to the flier.

This is the first year that an English-language flier has been given out, said Hiroyuki Kurihara, Fussa police’s traffic division chief.

Yokota residents “go off the base, so it applies to them as it does to others,” Kurihara said. “We want them to be familiarized.”

Fussa police gave about 2,500 copies of the English-language fliers to Yokota liaison officials to be handed out to base residents, Kurihara said. Tokyo Metropolitan Police created the pamphlet, he said.

“The 374th Security Forces Squadron has worked very closely with local police in coordinating the program and has agreed to support the initiative,” said Maj. David Westover, a Yokota spokesman.

Kurihara said police nationwide are stepping up efforts to stop drunken driving amid an increase in alcohol-related accidents. The pamphlet reminds drivers not to drive after drinking even a drop of alcohol, and never to serve alcohol to anyone who must drive a vehicle afterward.

“Carelessness or indiscretion is no excuse for driving under the influence of alcohol,” the flier states.

Fussa police, with the city’s safety committee, also are conducting their annual safety campaign in Bar Row, the bar district between Yokota and Fussa Station, Kurihara said.

On Friday night, police and committee members stood at intersections to show watchfulness against drinking and driving, he said.

Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.


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