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The top U.S. military commander in Japan issued a temporary reprieve for troops who want to ring in 2013 by celebrating off base, pushing the daily 11 p.m. curfew to 1 a.m. on Jan. 1 but stricter curfews remain in effect for forces in Okinawa.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella, who commands U.S. Forces Japan in Tokyo, on Wednesday issued the order revising the 11 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew just for New Year's Eve, "to allow military members and their families to enjoy the arrival of the New Year with their Japanese hosts."
The order also imposes a 12:30 a.m. alcohol curfew for any off-installation celebrations, and it maintains the existing policy that requires "liberty buddies" from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. for all service members E-4 and below.
The command announced the revised policy by posting a copy of the order on its official Facebook page.
The order applies to all U.S. troops in Japan but not on Okinawa, where a separate, stricter order remains in effect.
Troops there are banned from drinking alcohol off base and anyone found to be under the influence of alcohol won't be given off-base liberty under a policy ordered by the Okinawa area coordinator, Marine Lt. Gen. Kenneth Glueck. Glueck, who commands III Marine Expeditionary Force, is the top representative for U.S. Forces Japan and can impose specific rules for liberty for all military personnel on the island.
Glueck, on Dec. 20, lifted a previous order that banned on-base alcohol sales and prohibited service members from drinking alcohol from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. daily, a III MEF spokesman in Okinawa said Wednesday. "Service members are allowed to purchase alcohol after 10 p.m. on base," said 1st Lt. Gregory Carroll. But they still are prohibited from buying or consuming alcohol off base, and commands will continue to monitor and enforce the policy, he said.
"Drinking and driving or other destructive decisions will endanger you and everyone else it can end lives and careers and affects our mission here in the Asia-Pacific region. Remember, you represent the military and the entire nation," Glueck and Maj. Gen. Peter Talleri, Marine Corps Installations-Pacific commander, said in a joint holiday message posted Dec. 24 on MCIPAC's official Facebook page. "A single moment of bad judgment will have strategic implications."