The Japan-based US Marines headquarters imposed a curfew on all its military personnel and nonmilitary staff in Okinawa Prefecture from 7:30 a.m. Wednesday as a measure to tighten discipline in wake of a series of crimes which infuriated Japanese people.
According to the order released late Tuesday night, all servicemen, nonmilitary staff and their relatives are forbidden from leaving bases, but are still allowed to go to workplaces, schools and medical institutions.
The US forces didn't say when the curfew will be lifted.
Meanwhile, the US Forces also decided to designate Feb. 22 the "Day of Reflection" and set up a "Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Task Force."
Criminal cases involving Japan-based US forces dominated large part of Japanese media in the last week since a 38-year-old staff sergeant belonging to the Camp Courtney base was arrested on Feb. 11 on suspicion of raping a 14-year-old Okinawan girl.
Further revelations of a Marine's drunk driving and another Marine's trespassing into private house late last week fueled the uproar against US forces in Japan.
(Xinhua News Agency February 20, 2008)