Changes in Our Liberty Policy
A couple of weeks ago, I was thrilled to hear from my boss, Commander, U.S. Forces Japan, that the liberty policy for U.S. servicemembers here was being revised. It is something we had been advocating for some time. The revised policy, which goes into effect Tuesday, December 9, establishes a baseline for all Sailors stationed in Japan. The full details of the policy can be found here
This policy is well received. It is a step in the right direction, and it is an acknowledgement by our leadership of the outstanding job you all have done. You have been exemplary citizens, done liberty the right way, and have been great American ambassadors to our gracious Japanese hosts.
While much of the focus has been on what has changed in the liberty policy, though, let me remind you what has not changed: the expectation by our Ambassador and senior military leadership that we will continue to embody our core values. To do anything less endangers the great relationship we have with our Japanese friends and neighbors, who have shown us nothing but kindness and hospitality. Our relationship with Japan is one of America’s strongest and important alliances. Japan is a great nation. Its people have opened their arms and their hearts to us time and time again. We should never forget that we are guests in their country.
Unfortunately, it only takes the acts of one or two to instantly destroy all the goodwill built by many over time. One negative act committed by a U.S. Sailor can have a direct impact on the Forward Deployed Naval Force’s ability to protect American interests, as well as those of our Japanese allies. It is incumbent upon each and every one of us, then, to continue to take care of our shipmates, and help those members of our team who need it to make the right decisions.
I could not be prouder of the way the overwhelming majority of you continue to represent America. Please keep in mind that while the liberty policy has been revised, the standard of what is expected of us will never change.