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Midnight Curfew Lifted to Mixed Reactions

Date Posted: 2000-08-18

The U.S. Forces Japan Commander, Lt. Gen. Paul Hester lifted the midnight curfew for all Okinawa service members yesterday. However, at the same time, he declared all establishments that serve alcohol off-limits to active duty service members between midnight and 5 a.m. The local commanders immediately implemented the new rules. Okinawa officials were somewhat ambiguous about lifting the restrictions at the onset. Okinawa City Mayor Masakazu Nakasone welcomes the move. “This is good news for local businesses. This also gives us a chance to help educate the American service members from our part about our culture.” However, a member of an Okinawa City women’s group expressed surprise. “What is this again. It’s been only a month since the latest incident and that is still fresh in our minds. It is definitely too early to take this step,” she said. A representative of Okinawa City Bar Owners’ Association was delighted, but had reservations about the decision to leave establishment that serve alcohol off limits after midnight. “Of course this helps, but still hurts that we cannot serve drinks after midnight,” he said.

Okinawa Prefecture Vice Governor Hideo Ishikawa thought that the timing was perhaps a bit early. “We should have had more time to teach the bar owners to thoroughly check the ID’s of the customers to ensure that alcohol is not served to young people under 20,” Ishikawa said in a statement.

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