Japan Press Weekly
[Advanced search]
Past issues
Special issues
Fact Box
Feature Articles
Mail to editor
Mail magazine
HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 November 4 - 10  > US military’s use of off-base hotel arouses much fear among Miyazaki citizens of spread of COVID-19
> List of Past issues
Bookmark and Share
2020 November 4 - 10 [US FORCES]

US military’s use of off-base hotel arouses much fear among Miyazaki citizens of spread of COVID-19

November 4, 2020

In defiance of growing fear among local people regarding the potential spread of COVID-19, 200 U.S. soldiers have stayed at an off-base hotel in Miyazaki City without coronavirus-related restrictions during Japan-U.S. joint military exercises at a Self-Defense Forces base in Miyazaki Prefecture.

The 200 U.S. servicemen came from the Kadena base in Okinawa to take part in the joint military drills which started on October 28 at the Air SDF Nyutabaru Base in Miyazaki City’s neighboring town of Shintomi. The U.S. military arranged accommodations for them at a local hotel located in the city’s central area and rented cars for transportation from the hotel to the SDF base. During the training period near the hotel, it has often been reported that U.S. soldiers without masks went to convenience stores and were smoking on the streets in groups.

A 70-year-old man, who operates a snack bar at one of the busy areas in the city, said, “Until just before the joint military drill, I didn’t know that the U.S. troops would stay at the off-base hotel during the training period with no regulations such as a curfew imposed.” Citing the spread of COVID-19 at U.S. bases in Okinawa, he said, “Like in other prefectures, operators in the food and beverage service industry in Miyazaki are facing financial struggles due to the pandemic. I think the overwhelming majority of them regard U.S. soldiers as unwelcome customers.”

Regarding the use of an off-base hotel, the U.S. military explained that during the joint exercise period, a lodging facility in the Nyutabaru base will be used to isolate U.S. military personnel tested positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, in an opinion poll which a local daily conducted prior to the bilateral joint military exercises, over 60% of respondents were critical of the U.S. military’s stay at an off-base hotel. The Miyazaki governor and city mayor repeatedly requested the central government to urge the U.S. military to lodge the 200 troops within the SDF base during the training period. The prefectural and city assemblies on October 20 unanimously adopted statements to this effect. In addition, the Japanese Communist Party’s prefectural organization on the same day made a representation to the Defense Ministry’s Kyushu regional defense bureau, demanding a halt to the joint military exercises.

Past related articles:
> 239 US military-related individuals in Okinawa infected with coronavirus [July 29, 2020]
> US military in Okinawa takes isolation measures at off-base hotel [July 12, 2020]
> List of Past issues
  Copyright (c) Japan Press Service Co., Ltd. All right reserved