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U.S. Navy Sailors Barred From Drinking Alcohol In Japan

The ban comes after a sailor was arrested Sunday for allegedly driving drunk and crashing into two cars.

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The U.S. Navy on Monday barred all 18,600 sailors stationed in Japan from drinking alcohol and limited their off-base freedoms following "alcohol-related incidents detrimental to the U.S.-Japan Alliance."

"Effective immediately, sailors are prohibited from drinking alcohol, on and off base," a statement from the 7th Fleet and U.S. Naval Forces Japan read. "Additionally, all off-base liberty will be curtailed."

Sailors who live off-base will be allowed to essential travel such as child-care drop-off and pickup, and going to the grocery store, gas station, and gym.

"These measures are not taken lightly," Rear Adm. Matthew Carter, CNFJ, said in a statement. "For decades, we have enjoyed a strong relationship with the people of Japan. It is imperative that each Sailor understand how our actions affect that relationship, and the U.S.-Japan Alliance as a whole."

The ban comes after Petty Officer 2nd Class Aimee Mejia, 21, was arrested Sunday in Japan's Okinawa Island for driving the wrong way on a freeway and crashing into two vehicles, according to CNN.

Last month, a contractor at a U.S. base in Okinawa was arrested in connection with the death of a 20-year-old woman.

The travel limitation will remain in effect until face-to-face training has taken place. The ban on alcohol will remain in effect indefinitely, until commanders are "comfortable that all personnel understand the impact of responsible behavior in the U.S.-Japan Alliance and the United States' ability to provide security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific."

Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at maryann.georgantopoulos@buzzfeed.com.

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