US Marines Hit with Harsh New Rules at Okinawa

Justin Holcomb
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Posted: May 29, 2016 8:20 PM
US Marines Hit with Harsh New Rules at Okinawa

Strict liberty restrictions and a midnight curfew took effect Friday for all service members on Okinawa, according to a report from the III Marine Expeditionary Force Okinawa, Japan.

A statement said the intent of the measures is "to observe a period of unity and mourning by curtailing off-installation activities" in response to two recent acts of misconduct.

The restrictions include:

• All ranks, including officers, must be on base by midnight.

• Alcohol may not be purchased or consumed off base.

• Patronizing off-base bars and clubs is prohibited.

• Parties may not be held off base.

• Personally owned vehicles entering installations between midnight and 5 a.m. are subject to sobriety checkpoints.

• No Marine on Okinawa may stay overnight off base unless it is their residence; however, these restrictions do not apply to those on special liberty or on leave outside of Okinawa.

The new rules follow the arrest of a civilian U.S. worker suspected in the death of a 20-year-old Okinawan woman. Others covered by the status of forces agreement – including civilian workers and families of service members – are being asked to abide by the restrictions, too.

"My intention is for all SOFA status personnel to consider their roles as ambassadors to Japan and good neighbors with the people of Okinawa, as reflected in their personal conduct during the period of mourning," III MEF commander Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson said in a statement.

"Additionally, we honor and mourn the tragedies affecting the victims of two heinous crimes. These incidents do not accurately represent the behavior of the more than 50,000 SOFA status personnel living in Okinawa who lawfully, peacefully and positively engage with our Okinawan neighbors on a daily basis."