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U.S. sailor arrested for drunk driving in Okinawa

Monday’s Mainichi front-paged a report on an announcement on Sunday by the Okinawa police that they have arrested a U.S. sailor belonging to Kadena AB on suspicion of violating the Road Traffic Law by driving under the influence of alcohol in Kadena on Saturday. The sailor veered to the wrong side of the road and hit two vehicles, injuring two people. A breathalyzer test showed the suspect’s blood alcohol level was six times the level allowed by law. The accident came right after the USFJ had begun to tighten discipline for U.S. service members by banning off-base drinking from May 27 to June 24 in response to the recent arrest of a U.S. base worker in connection with the death of a Japanese woman in Okinawa.


All other papers reported on the accident in their inside-page city news sections. Foreign Minister Kishida lodged a protest with Ambassador Kennedy on Sunday by saying that the incident is “extremely regrettable.” Defense Minister Nakatani told reporters on Sunday in Singapore that Japan has called on the U.S. to take measures to prevent a recurrence.


All networks aired similar stories this morning, with NTV quoting Okinawa Governor Onaga as telling reporters on Sunday midnight: “This drunk-driving accident occurred just a few days after the U.S. military banned off-base drinking for a month. It shows that [the U.S. measures] are a pie in the sky.” The network said the governor criticized the U.S. measures to prevent such incidents from recurring and reiterated his call for SOFA revision.


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