Japan urges US to impose curfew on its military bases because of Covid

U.S. Marines with 3d Marine Division participate in a squad race during the 3d Marine Division Squad Competition on Camp Schwab, Okinawa, Japan, Jan. 3, 2022. Photo by Lance Cpl. Jonathan Willcox

Tokyo — Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi urged his American counterpart to impose curfews on US bases in Japan, as US military personnel continue to test positive for Covid-19 there.

Hayashi sought action from Washington in a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday.

Hayashi told reporters after the conversation that he urged Blinken to introduce stricter coronavirus measures to prevent the virus from spreading further and to “alleviate local anxiety among the Japanese public.”

Blinken promised to do everything the US government can by working together with Tokyo to curb the virus spread.

US Forces Japan said in a release issued after the talks that “more stringent mitigation measures” will be introduced for all US military installations in Japan “due to the recent increase in Covid-19 cases” at their facilities.

The measures include requiring all US military personnel to wear masks off base and for stricter testing mandates.

More than 800 US military personnel are reportedly in quarantine in Okinawa prefecture after they were found to have infected with the virus.

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said that the government plans to declare partial state of emergency for Okinawa, Yamaguchi and Hiroshima.

Kishida said the move comes in response to request by the governors of these prefectures who attributed surging Covid-19 cases to the spread of the Omicron strain at US military bases.

©2022 dpa GmbH. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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