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Intellasia East Asia News – COVID restrictions on US forces personnel in Japan extended 1 week

US Forces Japan said Friday it has decided to extend COVID-19 restrictions on its personnel’s activities outside bases in Japan by one week through the end of January.

The decision was made “due to the continuing increase of COVID-19 cases throughout Japan,” fueled by the rapid spread of the highly contagious Omicron variant of the coronavirus, US Forces Japan said in a press release.

The measures have been implemented since January 10 following a surge in virus infections among American military personnel in prefectures such as Okinawa and Yamaguchi.

Clusters of COVID-19 cases at US military facilities in prefectures hosting US military bases have been reported since last month.

The spike in new cases prompted Japanese Foreign minister Yoshimasa Hayashi to ask the US side earlier in the month to impose curfews at US military bases in Japan.

Under the measures, the movement of military personnel outside military facilities is restricted to essential activities, and wearing a mask is required even on bases.

The extension comes ahead of a virtual meeting later in the day between Japanese prime minister Fumio Kishida and US President Joe Biden, the first formal summit between the two leaders since Kishida took office in October.

Hayashi told a parliament session that a total of 6,350 coronavirus cases had been confirmed among US forces personnel stationed in Japan as of Wednesday, of which 4,141 were in the southern island prefecture of Okinawa.

Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki has demanded that restrictions on US military personnel be maintained “until the virus spread is brought under control.”


Category: Japan

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