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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 April 8 - 14  > Residents of US base-hosting cities demand that Japanese gov't prevent US military corona infections from entering local communities
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2020 April 8 - 14 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Residents of US base-hosting cities demand that Japanese gov't prevent US military corona infections from entering local communities

April 9, 2020

A group of residents living near U.S. bases in Tokyo and Kanagawa on April 8 visited the Defense Ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to demand that immediate measures be implemented to prevent coronavirus infections among U.S. troops from spreading to local Japanese communities.

Citing that several U.S. servicemen at the U.S. Yokosuka base (Kanagawa Pref.) and the Kadena base (Okinawa Pref.) have reportedly been infected, the group pointed out, "We are concerned about the carried-in virus into Japan through U.S. military personnel, their families, and civilian employees."

They demanded the following measures be taken: request the U.S. military to provide information regarding the infections, and make this known to base-hosting municipalities and residents in Japan; have U.S. troops undergo a 2-week quarantine and an immigration inspection in the same way as ordinary Americans do when entering Japan; and revise the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) so that Japanese laws can be applied to U.S. military personnel and facilities in Japan.

A defense official said that he cannot reveal data about COVID-19 infections within the U.S. military as the data deals with the U.S. security and operations of its forces, adding, "U.S. military hospitals in Japan will report military-linked coronavirus cases to local public healthcare centers to share the information with local municipalities." A Foreign Ministry official said, "Due to Pentagon guidelines, the total number of infected persons will be made public, but not individuals' specific medical information. Based on the DoD guidelines, the two governments will handle information on the state of corona infections at U.S. bases in Japan."

A representative of the residents living in the vicinity of the Yokota base said, "What worries us is that U.S. chartered flights frequently come in and out of the Yokota AB." A resident from the area nearby the Yokosuka naval base demanded information disclosure by saying, "Five infected cases inside of the base, as of March 28, were reported. I don't understand why nothing has been made public since then."

Past related article:
> JCP Akamine demands information disclosure regarding the number of coronavirus cases among US troops in Japan [April 6, 2020]
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