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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 January 26 - February 1  > US military in Japan ends curfew in defiance of local concerns over omicron transmission from US bases
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2022 January 26 - February 1 TOP3 [US FORCES]

US military in Japan ends curfew in defiance of local concerns over omicron transmission from US bases

January 31 & February 1, 2022

In defiance of local concerns over the transmission of omicron from U.S. bases, the U.S. military in Japan on January 31 announced that a curfew which was imposed on U.S. bases in Japan following a surge in COVID-19 cases on bases will be lifted on the day as scheduled.

The U.S. military administrative policy, since an explosive surge in omicron infections in Japan at the end of last year, has been a factor behind the surge as it allowed its personnel to enter Japan without having a PCR test before their departure to Japan and to go outside their bases even after the eruption of COVID-19 clusters on the bases. Currently, prefectures hosting U.S. bases, such as Okinawa, Yamaguchi, and Tokyo, as well as many other prefectures have been placed under a coronavirus quasi-state of emergency. Under this situation, it is unacceptable for the U.S military to ease its coronavirus-related restrictions.

The U.S. Forces Japan, as a reason for ending the curfew, cited a sharp drop in the number of new cases among its personnel. However, U.S. military data, as of January 28, showed that 284 new cases were confirmed on U.S. bases across Japan over the previous 24 hours. The 284 cases contain 57 at Camp Hansen and 49 at the Kadena base in Okinawa, 43 at Kanagawa’s Yokosuka base, and 21 at Tokyo’s Yokota base.

In addition, the U.S. Yokosuka base on January 28 announced that with 407 additional new cases in the last week, the latest number of positive cases reached 678.

The USFJ informed the Japanese Foreign Ministry that even after lifting the curfew, it will impose on its military personnel some restrictions, including wearing masks both on and off base and observing locally-set COVID-19 restrictions when going out of their bases.

However, on January 31, the deadline for the curfew, it was witnessed that at the U.S. Marine Corps Iwakuni base, 15 marines without wearing masks gathered in a group for a chat.

Past related articles:
> US soldiers enter Japan without being PCR tested [ December 25, 2021]
> COVID-19 cluster erupts at USMC Camp Hansen in Okinawa [ December 18, 2021]

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