After Deadly Crash, US Troops in Japan Banned From Drinking

Police say Marine in Okinawa was 3 times legal limit
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 20, 2017 1:44 AM CST
US Troops in Japan Banned From Drinking
A Japanese driver's damaged vehicle is seen at a police station in Naha, Okinawa, southern Japan Sunday, Nov. 19, 2017.   (Kazuki Sawada/Kyodo News via AP)

US military personnel in Okinawa have been restricted to base and banned from drinking alcohol after a Marine was arrested over a crash that killed a Japanese man. Police on the southern Japanese island arrested 21-year-old Nicholas James-McLean late Sunday on suspicion of negligent driving resulting in injury or death and driving under the influence of alcohol, the AP reports. An Okinawa police spokesman confirmed that a breath test indicated James-McLean, who was slightly injured, had an alcohol level that was three times the legal limit. Hidemasa Taira, 61, who was driving a small truck, died in the Sunday morning crash in Naha, the main city in Okinawa.

According to Japanese media, the Marine may have driven through a red light before hitting Taira's vehicle. The incident could fuel opposition to the US military presence on Okinawa, where about 25,000 American troops are stationed and where local residents have expressed concerns in the past about military crime on the island. The US military said "alcohol may have been a factor" in the crash. Buying and drinking alcohol was banned for US military personnel all over Japan. Those on Okinawa were also restricted to base and their residences until further notice. The military said commanders across Japan will immediately lead mandatory training on responsible alcohol use and acceptable behavior.

(More Okinawa stories.)

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