Popular website for military in Japan returns
July 26, 2010
SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A popular social website for U.S. military communities in Japan was back online Monday morning after being shut down for six weeks by its private parent company.
The site Japanbases.com was voluntarily shut down following allegations by Commander Fleet Activities Yokosuka that its creator, Adam Jones, a civilian contractor, conducted business off-base without permission from the Navy.
The website had nearly 2,000 registered members from across Japan and provided a forum for questions, discussions and information on daily living when it went offline June 13. It also gave visitors the ability to search for housing.
In June, Jones told Stars and Stripes he feared the CFAY allegations could get him fired from his civilian contractor job as a secure Web developer with Submarine Group 7 if the site was not closed.
Jones said last week that he applied with CFAY this month for permission to work off-base as a web developer and technical expert who will service the private website on a trial basis.
“After discussions with base officials, I am now confident and comfortable that I can bring the website up and not put my base job in jeopardy,” he said. Jones could not be reached for comment Monday.
In most cases, servicemembers and civilians living in Japan under the status of forces agreement must first get permission before working for off-base companies.
Jones had not applied for permission before the site closed last month. But he had removed advertising from the site, worked as an unpaid volunteer and transferred ownership to a Georgia-based company headed by his mother.
Despite those changes, CFAY had sent a notification last month to his employer, Logistical Support Inc., stating that Jones did not have permission to work at the company and did not provide notice before doing outside business.
The base said it was not involved in Jones’ decision to shut down the website. It directed questions about Jones’ off-base working permission to the staff judge advocate office, which was not immediately available for comment.
“We had nothing to do with the site going down or going back up online,” base spokeswoman Michelle Stewart said Monday.