- The Washington Times - Monday, November 20, 2017

A 61-year-old local man is dead and a U.S. Marine facing criminal charges after a fatal car accident Sunday in Okinawa’s capital city of Naha, CNN reported Monday. 

Marine Pfc. Nicholas James-McLean was behind the wheel early Sunday morning when his truck collided with a vehicle driven by a local man, 61-year-old Jun Tamanaha, who died from his injuries, police said, CNN reported. 

Pfc. James-McLean was subsequently determined to have had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit, CNN said. 

The U.S. military presence on the Japanese island has met with significant local opposition, with flare-ups in protests often occurring after high-profile criminal incidents involving U.S. servicemen. 

“It’s the same thing over and over again every time. I’m speechless,” complained Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga, The Washington Post reported. Mr. Onaga is a longstanding critic of the U.S. military’s presence on the island, according to The Post.

In response to the fatal incident and in view of tamping down tensions with local civilians, U.S. Forces Japan has ordered personnel on the island to restrict themselves to base and ordered a ban on alcohol consumption both on and off base.

“The vast majority of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and civilians in Japan serve honorably and make great contributions to the defense of Japan,” U.S. Forces Japan said in a press statement announcing the alcohol ban.

“When our service members fail to live up to the high standards we set for them, it damages the bonds between bases and local communities and makes it harder for us to accomplish our mission. We are committed to being good neighbors with our host communities and we are thankful for the support we receive from them every day.”

A similar alcohol ban was put in place by U.S. Forces Japan in 2016 after a non-fatal DUI. That incident involved a service member who was breaking a curfew which in turn had been instituted in light of the sexual assault and murder of an Okinawan woman at the hands of military contractor, The Post noted.

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