At every base, there seems to be a drunk driving cycle–few incidents, then an increasing number which builds to a critical mass when multiple incidents occur in a single, short period or tragic consequences ensue. At that point, command leadership makes DUI prevention a high-priority issue. It seems Misawa AB, at the northern end of Japan’s largest island of Honshu, is at the top (bottom?) of that cycle right now. Last week, we heard there have been 8 recent drinking and driving-related incidents involving Misawa airmen, with NCOs comprising 7 of the 8 accused.
Stars and Stripes also had a sobering article from the perspective of a soon-to-be-former airman whose decision to drive while drunk landed him in Japanese confinement. Unlike the US, where the DUI cut-off is usually .08, Japan’s legal limit for driving with alcohol in one’s system is a mere .03, something briefed to all of us newcomers as soon as we set foot in the country.