Politics play role in Tokyo's reaction to US crime on Okinawa
TOKYO — A servicemember who drives drunk and injures someone in the United States would likely get prosecuted and possibly become the subject of a brief news story.
In Japan, the same type of incident has spurred apologies from flag officers, an ambassador and senior officials in Washington, galvanized protesters and energized politicians calling for changes that would alter the security architecture of the world’s most populous region.
For thousands of sailors serving in Japan, a series of high-profile arrests means no alcohol — not even at home — as the Navy works on crime-prevention measures, with an eye toward controlling any damage done to its relationship with Japan.
While the Navy’s orders are among the most stringent, no service has been immune from criminal incidents and liberty restrictions here in recent years. A curfew for all troops has been in place since late 2012.
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