Ryukyu Shimpo and Okinawa Times ran front-page reports on the Okinawa prefectural assembly’s unanimous adoption on Tuesday of a resolution and a statement protesting the fatal traffic accident caused by a U.S. Marine who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol. Despite their differences over the language to be used in the motion and the statement, the ruling bloc and the opposition LDP found common ground on Tuesday. The documents call on the U.S. military to offer an apology and full compensation for the family of the accident victim, relocate U.S. Marines out of Japan and Okinawa at an early date, replace the commander and supervisors in the event that a heinous crime is committed by a service member or a base worker in the future, establish a committee involving the U.S., Japanese, and Okinawa governments to prevent a recurrence, and drastically review the Status of Forces Agreement.
In a related development, the papers wrote that an official at the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa bureau told assembly members of Yomitan Village that he learned from investigative authorities that the suspect may have consumed alcohol both on and off base before the accident on Nov. 19. Okinawa Times wrote that if this is true, the suspect may have violated the liberty policy of the U.S. forces in Okinawa that restricted off-base drinking from midnight to 5:00 a.m. because he apparently drank alcohol before the accident occurred at around 5:25 a.m.