USFJ sets new alcohol limits for on-base driving
By USFJ Public Affairs
| III MEF/MCIPAC Consolidated Public Affairs Office | March 30, 2016
Japan, Okinawa, USFJ, Japanese Law
New changes to U.S. Forces, Japan, regulation will impact how much alcohol drivers on U.S. installation in Japan can have their bloodstreams and still be considered fit to drive, beginning Monday, April 4, 2016.There is now a minimum disciplinary action of a 60-day license suspension for those caught driving with a blood-alcohol content level .03 to .079. In addition, commanders have the right to impose additional disciplinary measures, depending on the circumstances. Those caught driving with a BAC level at or above .08 are considered intoxicated drivers and will be dealt with accordingly under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
The new policy, which goes into effect Monday April 4, establishes a .03 Blood Alcohol Content standard for all drivers on U.S. installations throughout Japan. This is the same limit set by Japanese law, and this means that the same standards will apply regardless of whether you are driving on or off base in Japan. Operating a motor vehicle with a BAC level of .03 and above constitutes Driving Under the Influence under Japanese law.
“This change means the same standards will apply to drivers on or off base,” said Chief Master Sgt. Terrence Greene, USFJ and 5th Air Force command chief. “You can face a suspended license or UCMJ charges, so regardless of where you’re driving in Japan, have a designated driver or a plan to get home safe. And, remember, do the right thing—don’t drink and drive.”
The change is simple, according to USFJ leaders. There is now a minimum disciplinary action of a 60-day license suspension for those caught driving with a BAC level .03 to .079. In addition, commanders have the right to impose additional disciplinary measures, depending on the circumstances. Those caught driving with a BAC level at or above .08 are considered intoxicated drivers and will be dealt with accordingly under the UCMJ.
Prior to the update, installations throughout Japan had varying policy enforcing BAC minimums. The change is aimed at standardizing policy across all U.S. installations in Japan and is focused on removing any possible confusion between prior policies. It is also meant to ensure service members are well informed of the expectations of driving on and off installations throughout Japan.
According to USFJ representatives, the recent policy change has been under review for several months and is not related to any recent events.
For those affected by the policy change on Okinawa, there are Daiko resources available by calling 637-5900 via the Defense Switch Network, or 0120-23-5477 from a local cellphone, to assist in obtaining a safe ride home. Click on the following link for more information: http://www.okinawa.marines.mil/News/NewsArticleDisplay/tabid/18973/Article/610823/aafes-revamps-daiko-service-keeps-service-members-safe.aspx