NAHA, Okinawa Pref. – The U.S. Marine Corps said Friday it will ban Okinawa-based marines from consuming alcohol around the time of the July 21-23 Group of Eight summit.
The announcement of the ban, which will be effective from July 20 to 24 both inside and outside U.S. military bases, follows Monday’s arrest of a marine on suspicion of trespassing in a private home and molesting a 14-year-old girl living there.
The marines will also be required to be in uniform at all times during the five-day period, the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa said.
Lt. Gen. Earl Hailston, the chief of U.S. Marine Corps forces in Okinawa, said he is certain each marine understands the need for the disciplinary measure as well as the importance of the Okinawa summit.
The various units of the force will also be held responsible for the activities of its members around the clock between July 14 and 24, according to the marines’ local public relations office.
Alcohol will not be sold on the bases for the duration of the ban, the office said.
Meanwhile, a 31-year-old marine corporal was found to have been driving drunk and without a license Tuesday when he broke through the fence of a parking lot at a park in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture, and then drove off, police sources said.
After the corporal drank beer with a 25-year-old fellow marine at a beach near the parking lot, they decided to drive home at around 10:30 p.m. but found the gate was closed, according to the investigation. While the younger marine went to find a security guard, the corporal drove the car through the gate.
The U.S. military in Okinawa had ordered soldiers to obtain Japanese driver’s licenses and restricted their drinking age following incidents such as the rape of an Okinawa schoolgirl by U.S. servicemen in 1995.
Resolution of protest
NAHA, Okinawa Pref. (Kyodo) The Okinawa Municipal Assembly adopted a resolution Friday protesting the alleged molestation of a 14-year-old girl by a U.S. Marine here Monday.
The city of Nago, the expected future site for operations of the Futenma Air Station in Ginowan, central Okinawa Prefecture, adopted a similar resolution Thursday and plans to demand preventive measures by the prefectural government.
Nago will host the July 21-23 summit of the Group of Eight major countries.
Lt. Gen. Earl Hailston, chief of U.S. forces in Okinawa Prefecture, offered an apology to Okinawa Gov. Keiichi Inamine on Thursday.
Hailston issued a statement Wednesday apologizing to the girl’s family and expressing his regret over the anxiety the incident has caused.
State Foreign Secretary Katsuhito Asano also visited Okinawa and complained about the incident to Hailston on Thursday.
The U.S. forces in Japan and the Japanese government are struggling to quell widespread discontent among Okinawans with the U.S. military ahead of the G8 summit.
Police on Monday arrested a 19-year-old U.S. Marine based at the Futenma Air Station on suspicion he broke into a home in the city of Okinawa and molested a junior high school girl as she slept.
WASHINGTON (Kyodo) The United States is considering imposing restrictions on U.S. military personnel in the aftermath of allegations that a U.S. Marine molested a 14-year-old girl in Okinawa Prefecture, a Defense Department spokesman said.
“The U.S. force commanders there on Okinawa are contemplating additional actions to take,” deputy spokesman Craig Quigley said Thursday.
The commanders will announce the measures when a final version is worked out, he said. Quigley did not specify which bases or regions would be affected by the measures.
When U.S. servicemen in Okinawa raped a schoolgirl in 1995, a late-night curfew was imposed on U.S. soldiers at bases in the prefecture.