US Navy eases drinking ban in Japan after Okinawa incidents


TOKYO (AP) — The U.S. Navy in Japan has eased a ban on drinking imposed after an American sailor was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving in Okinawa.

U.S. Naval Forces Japan said in a statement Friday that sailors are now allowed to drink on base as well as at their off-base houses. Other drinking off-base is still prohibited.

The restrictions were imposed on June 6 after the sailor drove the wrong way on a freeway and hit two other vehicles, injuring two people in the other cars.

The incident further fueled anti-U.S. base sentiment on the southern Japanese island that is home to about half the 50,000 American troops based in Japan.

Separately, a U.S. military contractor in Okinawa has been arrested on suspicion of raping and killing a woman.