U.S. Navy eases drinking ban in Japan after Okinawa incidents

Fri, Jun 17, 2016 (1:02 a.m.)

TOKYO — The U.S. Navy in Japan has eased a ban on drinking imposed after an American sailor was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving in Okinawa.

U.S. Naval Forces Japan said in a statement Friday that sailors are now allowed to drink on base as well as at their off-base houses. Other drinking off-base is still prohibited.

The restrictions were imposed on June 6 after the sailor drove the wrong way on a freeway and hit two other vehicles, injuring two people in the other cars.

The incident further fueled anti-U.S. base sentiment on the southern Japanese island that is home to about half the 50,000 American troops based in Japan.

Separately, a U.S. military contractor in Okinawa has been arrested on suspicion of raping and killing a woman.

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