American marines and sailors on
Okinawa have a new good behavior program. Those that don't get in trouble while
off base, get gold liberty (naval term for going off the ship or base) cards,
which allows them to leave their base whenever they want, and be able to stay
out all night (but no drinking booze after 2 AM). Those who have had some
problems, or are new and young, get a red card. This requires that they leave
base with a "liberty buddy," and the two are responsible for keeping each
other out of trouble.
All this is
because some sailors and marines have misbehaved off base. While the crime rate
for the marines and sailors is much lower than that of the local civilians, and
Japanese in general, many Okinawans don't want U.S. troops on their island.
Many Okinawans don't want to part of Japan, either, but that's another story.
been host to U.S. military forces since late in World War II. That's over 60
years. Until 1972, when Japan took over, the U.S. ran the island. The
population of the island is 1.3 million, plus 40,000 U.S. troops. American
military bases occupy 18 percent of the island. Despite the large number of
jobs these bases bring to the island, it's crowded. Military commanders are
under a lot of pressure to have zero trouble between the troops and the locals.
Zero is impossible, but those who get closest are more likely to get promoted.