All U.S. service members in Japan have been ordered not to leave base unless accompanied, particularly at night, under a new “Buddy Program” following a series of damaging misconduct cases.
The measure ordered by Lt. Gen. Salvatore Angelella, commander of United States Forces Japan, took effect Friday. In principle, it requires all U.S. military personnel stationed in the country to be accompanied by someone — such as a colleague or family member — whenever they leave base outside the recently imposed curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
The Buddy Program, the latest initiative to improve discipline, covers around 40,000 U.S. service members in Japan. The specific details of the measure will be left to each base and facility to decide for the time being, including time frames, the official said Friday.
The U.S. military command in Japan is currently working out a comprehensive set of rules for the program and is scheduled to announce them in early December, the officer said.
The 11 p.m. to 5 p.m. curfew was imposed on all U.S. military personnel in response to the alleged rape of a Japanese woman by two U.S. Navy sailors in the city of Okinawa in October.
But the step failed to curb misbehavior, forcing the U.S. Navy to issue an order banning all its personnel in the country from drinking alcohol at night.
Angelella said Thursday that he intends to keep the nighttime curfew in place until he can be satisfied that “service members understand the implications of their actions.”
Marine held for DUI crash
A U.S. Marine was arrested in Okinawa for alleged drunken driving after his car crashed into three other vehicles, and he could be further charged with negligent driving resulting in injury, prefectural police said Saturday.
Staff Sgt. Nathan Sales, 35, stationed in a logistics unit at U.S. Marine Corps Camp Kinser in Urasoe, allegedly drove his vehicle while drunk and slammed into the three cars at 7:10 p.m. Friday in the village of Kita-Nakagusuku, according to the police.
Two males, aged 53 and 18, were slightly injured in the crash. Officers detected alcohol on Sales’ breath at the scene, but he is contesting the drunken driving charge, the police said.
The incident occurred outside of stricter curfew hours imposed on all American military personnel in Japan, following the alleged rape of a local woman on Okinawa Island in mid-October by two U.S. Sailors.
The alleged rape led the U.S. military to impose a new curfew between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on all its service personnel in Japan.