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Police crack down on teen liquor sales

Date Posted: 2006-09-29

Okinawa Prefecture Police are determined to put a stop to stores illegally selling alcohol to underage patrons.

With school back in session, police have declared a campaign targeting liquor store and shop owners to stop selling drinks, citing the law that prohibits alcohol sales to persons under age 20. That same law prohibits liquor consumption by those under age 20.

The campaign is linked to a drive to eradicate drunk drivers from Japanese roadways. Police say drinking or drunken drivers often illegally provide alcohol to underage persons. The Naha City Police Department has fired off a letter to the local prosecutor’s office, urging action in the cases of businesses selling alcohol to underage individuals.

Police began their campaign after an August accident in the city where a young teen fell from a roof after drinking alcohol. Police began sending undercover teens to stores to see if clerks would sell liquor to them. In many instances, store clerks did, without checking or confirming age. In another case, a teen was found in a karaoke box with 27 cans of illegally procured alcohol in his backpack.

Officials contend adults are responsible for the illegal sales. “Adults should be giving good advice to children,” says one Prefecture Police official. “Instead, adults are trying to sell drinks to boys. That is a morals problem for adults.” The campaign crackdown promotes a new law, which makes illegal sales of alcohol to minors the same severity offense as drunk driving.

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