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US Navy Bans Sailors From Alcohol Use in Japan

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Protesters raise placards during a rally to oppose the transfer of a key U.S. military base within the prefecture, at a baseball stadium in the prefectural capital Naha on Japan's southern island of Okinawa, in this photo taken by Kyodo May 17, 2015. The Navy has received increased pressure in Okinawa where residents are calling for the removal of U.S. bases. American military arrests help the Japanese argument.
Protesters raise placards during a rally to oppose the transfer of a key U.S. military base within the prefecture, at a baseball stadium in the prefectural capital Naha on Japan's southern island of Okinawa, in this photo taken by Kyodo May 17, 2015. The Navy has received increased pressure in Okinawa where residents are calling for the removal of U.S. bases. American military arrests help the Japanese argument.

The United States Navy says it has banned its work force in Japan from drinking alcohol and limited most of their activities to Navy bases.

The announcement came after a U.S. sailor on the Japanese island of Okinawa was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

Okinawa residents have demanded the removal of U.S. bases after several incidents involving armed forces members in recent months.

The latest incident happened Sunday night. Japanese police arrested Petty Officer 2nd Class Aimee Mejia after she reportedly drove on the wrong side of a road. She crashed her car into two vehicles, injuring two people, a police spokesman said.

Mejia was not hurt, the Associated Press reported.

Following the incident, U.S. sailors throughout Japan have been banned from drinking alcohol indefinitely, the Navy said in a statement.

“These [incidents] are not taken lightly,” said Rear Admiral Matthew Carter. “For decades, we have enjoyed a strong relationship with the people of Japan.”

The U.S. Ambassador to Japan, Caroline Kennedy, offered her regrets to the family of those injured in the accident.

The U.S. Navy had already ordered all sailors to return to their bases by midnight, local time. The Navy also banned all off-base drinking after a former U.S. Marine, who worked on an American military base in Japan, was arrested last month. That Marine was suspected of involvement in the disappearance of a Japanese woman. Police believe that she was raped and murdered.

In March, a U.S. sailor was arrested on charges of raping a Japanese woman in Okinawa. Three U.S. servicemen were found guilty in the rape of a schoolgirl in 1995. That case angered many Japanese.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

This story was published on VOANews.com. Jim Dresbach adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and post on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

petty officern. an officer with a low rank, or grade, in the US Navy or Coast Guard

resident – n. someone who lives in a place, usually for a long period

decade – n. a period of 10 years

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