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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 January 5 - 11  > Japan gov't under Japan-US alliance still insists that omicron infections are not spreading from US bases
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2022 January 5 - 11 [US FORCES]

Japan gov't under Japan-US alliance still insists that omicron infections are not spreading from US bases

January 6, 7, & 9, 2022
Akahata recently obtained the January flight schedule of a U.S. military charter carrier which shows that more U.S. military personnel will enter Japan without going through Japanese immigration checks despite COVID-19 infections, including the omicron variant, spreading from U.S. military bases around Japan.

U.S. military personnel, when going to a place of assignment or returning home, mainly use U.S. Air Mobility Command (AMC) charter flights, Patriot Express. Between January 8 and January 16, for example, chartered aircraft leave Seattle for Kadena (Okinawa), Misawa (Aomori), Osan (South Korea), Yokota (Tokyo), and Iwakuni (Yamaguchi).

Article 9 of the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement allows the U.S. military to not undergo Japanese disembarkation procedures, including quarantine inspection. In fact, Japan's Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa and Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu on December 24 and December 27, respectively, admitted that U.S. military personnel assigned to Japan did not undergo PCR tests in December 2021. Other personnel were obliged to have the tests 72 hours before leaving the United States, according to an AMC material.

The Japanese government on January 7 decided to apply quasi-state of emergency measures to Okinawa, Yamaguchi, and Hiroshima prefectures. It is crystal-clear that the present resurgence of the spread of COVID-19 infections in Japan is stemming from cluster cases at U.S. military installations across Japan.

Japanese Communist Party representative Akamine Seiken at a Lower House committee meeting on January 7 suggested that Japan, even under the present agreement, can suspend the entrance of U.S. military personnel to Japan. However, Yamagiwa Daishiro, minister in charge of economic revitalization and coronavirus measures, said, "Japan needs the deterrent effect of the Japan-U.S. alliance. This is the government position. So, the government will not do anything that may undermine the alliance." By saying this, he showed his stance of seeing the Japan-U.S. alliance as an absolute which is given priority over Japanese lives.

Regarding PCR tests on U.S. military personnel, Yamagiwa said, "I've been told that the U.S. military is conducting PCR tests or antigen tests on its personnel. I have no detailed information." He revealed that Japan does not know what the U.S. military really does to prevent infections among U.S. troops.

A total of 537 cases have been reported at the U.S. Iwakuni base (Yamaguchi) as of January 6 since December 27 last year; a total of 3,863 cases at U.S. military facilities in Okinawa have been reported as of January 4; a total of 82 cases at the U.S. Misawa base (Aomori) have been reported as of January 4; 75 new cases at the U.S. Yokosuka base (Kanagawa) were reported in eight days from December 30 last year; 16 new cases were reported at the U.S. Sasebo base (Nagasaki) in eight days from December 28 last year and another 16 cases in eight days from December 29 last year; and 65 new cases at the U.S. Yokota base (Tokyo) were reported on January 5.

Past related article:
> US soldiers enter Japan without being PCR tested [December 25, 2021]
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