US Forces Japan Revises Liberty Policy; Curfew Reduced by an Hour

Roppongi Crossing divides one of Tokyo's busiest entertainment disctricts into quarters.Servicemembers are prohibited from being here after midnight under the current curfew policy. Eric Guzman/Stars and Stripes

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- U.S. Forces Japan revised its liberty policy Wednesday, allowing servicemembers to stay out a little later starting next month. The current policy requires servicemembers E-5 and below to be back on base or in a private residence or hotel room between midnight and 5 a.m. It is unpopular but credited with cutting off-ba... more

US, Japan Agree on Access to Bases After Environmental Incidents

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TOKYO — Japanese officials will have access to U.S. military bases in Japan following oil spills or other environmental accidents, according to a bilateral agreement struck as part of the ongoing realignment of U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region. The supplement to the Status of Forces Agreement also grants base access to Japanese inspectors... more

Japan Outlines New Security Guidelines for Self-Defense Forces

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The United States and Japan outlined plans Wednesday for deeper security cooperation in a move reflecting Tokyo's new position that its pacifist constitution allows it to defend U.S. forces under attack. The five-page interim report on the revision of the two nations' bilateral security guidelines calls on the new framework to "reflect the glob... more

Japan's Government Approves Larger Military Role

A man shouts slogans over a public-address system during a protest outside the Japanese prime minister's office in anticipation his government will reinterpret the constitution to allow Japan's military a larger international role in Tokyo. (AP photo)

TOKYO — Japan took a step away Tuesday from an American-drafted constitution that has long kept its military shackled, approving a plan to allow greater use of a force that was vanquished at the end of World War II. In one of the biggest changes to Japanese security policy since the war, the Cabinet approved a reinterpretation of the constituti... more

Japan's Abe Bids to End Ban on Fighting Abroad

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, left, is welcomed by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prior to their talks at Abe's official residence in Tokyo Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013.

Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, has announced plans to lift the country's ban on fighting in conflicts overseas, a move certain to raise tensions with China and anger voters at home. He called for a review of how Japan interprets its pacifist constitution to allow its military to participate in conflicts beyond its borders. In an apparent b... more

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