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Japan defense force private, 19, hospitalized for alcohol poisoning at work party

The entrance to the Defense Ministry building is seen in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward. (Mainichi/Masahiro Ogawa)

MORIOKA -- A 19-year-old Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) private first class was hospitalized overnight for alcohol poisoning after drinking around 10 beers at a work party, it has been learned. In Japan, it is illegal to consume alcoholic drinks before age 20.

The private, legally a minor, belongs to the 9th Artillery Regiment at Camp Iwate in Takizawa in the northern Japan prefecture of Iwate. According to a Camp Iwate operational directive, a farewell party was held from around 6 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 22 at a restaurant in the prefectural capital of Morioka, and was attended by some 60 regiment members including the private. He sat close to superior officers including a captain, and drank beer. He was later found doubled over in the bathroom.

A superior officer then contacted his family, who took him to a hospital in Morioka after coming to get him from the restaurant. He was admitted that night and released on the following day.

A representative of the Camp Iwate operational directive commented, "It's illegal for a minor to drink alcohol. We're looking into what happened at the time and will examine who was responsible. We will thoroughly enforce our rules and instruct members to prevent this kind of incident from happening again."

(Japanese original by Yutaka Yamada, Morioka Bureau)

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