Fukoka Mayor Bans Booze for 20,000 Workers
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The mayor of Fukoka, Japan has mandated a dry spell for all city employees after a catalog of drunken behavior. Until next month, all 20,000 municipal personnel are banned from any public drinking: that means not one drop at restaurants, bars, public functions—and even at the homes of friends and family. The only exceptions are in their own homes and at their own weddings—drinking at someone else's wedding is still a no-no. “It is shock therapy to reform the consciousness of city officials,” says Mayor Soichiro Takashima. He says he was forced to law down the law after too many booze-fueled mishaps from his underlings. One intoxicated fireman was arrested for stealing a car, while the deputy headmaster of a municipal elementary school was arrested for driving drunk in his in February. Then a city port bureau official allegedly assaulted a taxi driver while under the influence. But the last straw for the mayor was a drunken throw down between a city childcare division employee and a former colleague—leaving one of the men hospitalized. By the time the month-long ban is over, the mayor hopes to have permanent new penalties for city workers who raise a ruckus while on the sauce. "We want to restore citizens' trust by changing this climate of drinking that has grown over the years and transforming us into a brand new city hall," he declares. "I hope each of you takes this abnormal situation seriously because this matter involves everyone."