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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 December 22 - 2022 January 4  > US soldiers enter Japan without being PCR tested
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2021 December 22 - 2022 January 4 [US FORCES]

US soldiers enter Japan without being PCR tested

December 25, 2021

Minister of Foreign Affairs Hayashi Yoshimasa at a press briefing on December 24 revealed that all U.S. military personnel who came to U.S. bases in Japan had been exempted from PCR tests since early September. The exemption was specified in a U.S. Department of Defense policy as the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. was stabilizing and vaccine rollouts were smoothly proceeding, according to FM Hayashi.

However, in the U.S., the COVID-19 situation turned into a resurgence in November. As of December 22, at U.S. Camp Hansen in Okinawa, a cluster erupted with 223 cases.

In the wake of the worldwide spread of the omicron variant, the Japanese government at present prohibits foreigners from entering Japan. U.S. soldiers, however, are exempted from complying with Japanese immigration control rules based on Article 9 of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, and so they can enter Japan without going through passport control and can move around the county without carrying their passports. Japan does not have the authority to have U.S. military personnel quarantined or undergo a PCR test.

Japan's Foreign Ministry, by explaining that the U.S. military in Japan takes measures consistent with Japanese regulations regarding PCR tests and self-isolation, has allowed their easy entry into Japan. It was revealed that they have not received PCR tests when entering Japan since September. Therefore, the possibility of U.S. servicemen infected with COVID-19 going out of U.S. bases and spreading infections is real.

Leaving the imposition of proper COVID-19 measures to the U.S. military has turned out to be inadequate, Japan should apply its own COVID-19 countermeasures, including PCR tests and quarantine rules to U.S. personnel entering Japan and should demand that the U.S. military make public the movement of its personnel who arrived Japan in and after September.

Past related aeticle:
> COVID-19 cluster erupts at USMC Camp Hansen in Okinawa [December 18, 2021]

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