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Police tries to survey reasons for underage drinking

Date Posted: 2003-06-01

Police, frustrated by a rise in the number of underage drinkers, have launched a program to determine why. An increase in the number of boys under age 20 who are taken to corrective training by the police because of drinking has prompted police officials to compile a survey to better understand the reasons why young people turn to alcohol. Under the Japanese law, persons under 20 are prohibited from drinking alcoholic beverages.

Naha City Police gave the questionnaire to youths who were held in corrective custody. In it, they asked what was their general opinion of the reasons people under the age of 20 drink. Some 74 percent of those who answered said that they could not understand the fuss, as there was no problem for only slightly older people to drink. They also said that they did not believe moderate drinking caused any health problems. Many also complained that they could not understand the reasons they had landed in corrective training.

As for the source of the drinks, half of those surveyed said that they bought the alcohol from supermarkets, convenience stores and liquor stores by themselves. Many claimed that stores had never carded or refused to sell them alcohol.

And that's a big problem, according to police officials. "The law requires that shop keepers ask a proof of age from persons who seem to be underage, and refuse to sell them if that's the case or they can't be sure."

Naha Police statistics show that 3,284 young people had been ordered to undergo corrective training through the end of April. In addition 500 boys and girls have been apprehended for drinking under age that is double the number of last year.

"We are going to conduct an aggressive campaign to make sure shop keepers follow the law strictly," a Naha City Police spokesman said.

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