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Gate 2 Street Association Clears Rules on Bars, Discos

Date Posted: 2000-03-10

Recent reports in the press, radio and TV have confused patrons, especially American military men and women, who frequent the island’s bars and discos. The information especially stated that drinking in most of Okinawa’s bars and discos is prohibited, and the patrons may risk being taken into custody as witnesses should the police raid an establishment.

The fact of the matter is that most bars and discos are free to set their own hours, and it is perfectly legal for them to serve drinks as long as they stay open.

According to Yoshio Kuba, the President of Gate 2 Street Association of Okinawa City, the controversy seems to have originated from a misunderstanding that occurred in a meeting between Okinawa City Police and U.S. military officials. “At the meeting, the Okinawa City Police discussed with the U.S. military officials about the recent orders they had received from the National Police Agency headquarters in Tokyo, instructing them to ensure peace and order in the area as the G-8 summit is approaching,” Kuba said. “This concerns everyone, Japanese nationals and foreigners alike.”

What the Japanese law says is that serving new drinks is prohibited in places that are classified as cabarets, places with hostesses who drink with the customers.

In those places they have to stop selling alcohol at midnight, although the customer can finish the drinks they have bought before the time limit.

They also have to turn off their neon signs, and they cannot accept new customers.

Normal bars and discos that do not have hostesses can set their own operating hours.

The only concern the patrons and owners of those places have is to make sure that they do not drink and drive, and that people who are under 20 years old are not served alcohol,” Kuba concluded.

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