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    Yokosuka restricts drinking

    I hadn’t noticed this a few days ago, assuming it was in the Japanese print media, but NHK News has just run a segment on it. From Stars & Stripes:

    All Yokosuka-based Navy personnel, civilians and dependents were cut off from late-night drinking in Yokosuka on Thursday by a general order signed by Rear Adm. James Kelly, Commander Naval Forces Japan.

    And all active-duty servicemembers in the Kitty Hawk Strike Group — the Navy’s largest — are under a 1 a.m. curfew ordered by Rear Adm. Doug McClain, the strike group commander.

    All personnel subject to the curfew must be back on base or in their off-base residences by 1 a.m.

    In ordering the drinking restrictions, Kelly cited the recent spate of alcohol-related crime as the reason for his action.

    William Reese, a Navy airman from the USS Kitty Hawk is in Japanese police custody in connection with the Jan. 3 beating death of a 56-year-old Yokosuka woman. Early Wednesday morning, USS McCain sailor Arlon Baker was arrested and accused of breaking into a Yokosuka junior high school. Both men were intoxicated, according to Japanese police reports.

    The restriction applies only to alcohol consumption, said CNFJ spokesman John Wallach. If those covered by the drinking restrictions but not covered by the curfew “want to sit on a bar stool in the Honch till 5 a.m. drinking Coke, that’s fine,” he said.

    The reaction is pretty predictable:

    The alcohol ban is a “smart idea” during the week but extending it through the weekend is “pushing it,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony Merlotte.

    “Sunday through Thursday makes sense — that will keep us on our toes for work,” he said. “But Fridays and Saturdays — that means more people will start drinking earlier.”

    Honch bartender Anastasiya Bandarenka predicted people likely will just move their drinking to barracks rooms and private houses. That will be bad for bars’ business, she said, adding, “I think it’s rather foolish to believe that people will stop drinking just because of an order.”

    Maybe. I’m not so sure about private houses–perhaps crashing for the night after having a few too many isn’t feasible for visitors, in which case they’ll be walking home pickled anyway. But if street crime, as opposed to mere drunkenness, is what the policy is designed to prevent, forcing people to get blotto in their own quarters (where they won’t cause a diplomatic incident if they smash windows) doesn’t sound like a bad idea.

    4 Responses to “Yokosuka restricts drinking”

    1. John says:

      Not sending busloads of Marines and seamen to this thing would also be a good idea to improve the average Japanese opinion of servicemen. This thing takes place during the day, and the service people I saw there already had a few under their belts by noon.

      Just not setting up a bus tour would probably have helped – there are plenty of great things to see and do in Japan without sending a bunch of 18 and 19 year olds to watch a large, orange, wooden penis glide down the street.

    2. Gaijin Biker says:

      Well, there’s a vagina festival, too, but it’s hard to get into.

    3. Sean Kinsell says:

      John:

      Well, there were probably plenty of Japanese people who’d had a few by then, too. Overall, I think you’re right, though. Everyone understands that servicemen who are off the chain have steam to blow off, but there are limits, and giving them *extra* ideas about how to misbehave is asking for trouble.

      Gaijin Biker:

      Unless you think outside the box.

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