Tokyo, Washington to discuss spurt in infections at US military bases
TOKYO (JAPAN) – A top Japanese official said on Monday that Japan and the United States are sharing information about coronavirus infections at US military bases after an outbreak provoked anger in Okinawa.
As many as 62 individuals – 39 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, 22 at Camp Hansen and one at Camp Kinser – had tested positive in Okinawa.
“We will cooperate appropriately on this matter,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a briefing.
“Japan and the United States are sharing information about the activity history of the infected military individuals.”
The bulk of the US troops is posted at Okinawa.
But many local residents associate the bases with problems such as crime and accidents and want the marines to reduce their numbers or leave.
Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki said it was “extremely regrettable” that a large number of infections had occurred in a short time, adding that local residents were shocked.
“I can’t help but have strong doubts about the US military’s measures to prevent infections,” he said, adding that military personnel left the base for night parties and visits to night life districts on July 4 Independence Day.
The Marine Corps said it has prohibited off-base activity for all installations across Okinawa, except essential needs.
“We are trying to limit as much contact (with local people) as we can, as we look to contact tracing of infected personnel,” a US military spokesman said.
Apart from the bases, infections in Okinawa stand at 148, with seven deaths.
(Photos syndicated via Reuters)
This story has been edited by BH staff and is published from a syndicated field