Hundreds test positive as US forces violate Japan’s COVID-19 rules

American forces not testing personnel being sent to Japan, 227 infections at US camp in Okinawa, says Japanese government.

ISTANBUL (AA) – US forces in Japan have violated the country’s COVID-19 measures, resulting in hundreds of infections among American personnel at a military facility.

The Japanese government said on Thursday that American forces “did not test their personnel for coronavirus infections upon departure from the US,” Kyodo News reported.

This went against Tokyo’s request to follow its border control measures, according to the Japanese government.

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi has conveyed “strong regret” to US Forces Japan Commander Lt. Gen. Ricky Rupp over the issue.

Some 227 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at the US Marine Corps’ Camp Hansen in Okinawa province, the government said.

“We have requested the US side to thoroughly implement the maximum measures to prevent the spread of infections,” Hirokazu Matsuno, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, said at a news conference.

Under a bilateral security pact, there are at least 50,000 US soldiers deployed in Japan, with their headquarters at Yokota Air Base in the city of Fussa, west of Tokyo.

Matsuno said the US forces claim they do not carry out PCR tests for personnel upon departure and “instead conducted them on the fifth day after arrival, given the troops have already been vaccinated and would not leave the premises of the base facilities until after their movement restrictions are lifted,” read the Kyodo News report.

“Final arrangements are being made to test those found infected with the coronavirus for the omicron variant,” he said.​​​​​​​


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