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HOME  > Past issues  > 2022 February 2 - 8  > Japanese gov’t pretended not to know about US military’s pre-departure testing exemption policy
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2022 February 2 - 8 [US FORCES]

Japanese gov’t pretended not to know about US military’s pre-departure testing exemption policy

February 8, 2022
The Japanese government allegedly hid the fact that in September last year, it was notified by the U.S. military in Japan about its policy to exclude its military personnel from taking a PCR test before their departure for Japan.

Japanese Communist Party member of the House of Representatives Akamine Seiken at a House Budget Committee meeting on February 7 grilled the government about the allegation by using the February 6 issue of Akahata Sunday edition reporting its inquiries to the U.S. Forces Japan.

According to Sunday Akahata, in response to the question when the Japanese government was notified about the U.S. military’s pre-departure testing exemption policy, the USFJ said that it constantly shared information with the Japanese government. In addition, when asked “Did you inform Japan about the policy before the end of September last year?” the USFJ answered, “Yes.”

Akamine said, “This contradicts the Japanese government’s claim that it recognized the U.S. military’s policy at the end of December last year.”

Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa replied, “There was a mix-up in communications between the Japanese government and the U.S. military in Japan.”

Akamine pointed out that COVID-19 countermeasures at U.S. bases in Japan should have been discussed at meetings of the Japan-U.S. Joint Committee as it is tasked to discuss various issues regarding U.S. bases in Japan. He demanded that the dates of the joint committee meeting and what was discussed be disclosed.

Hayashi stated that the meetings were held five times between August 2021 and December 2021, but refused to provided information regarding what was discussed.

Akamine pointed out that the minutes of joint committee meetings can be made public when the two governments agree. He demanded that the two governments agree to release the minutes of the meetings held between August and December.

Furthermore, Akamine presented materials published by the U.S. Yokota base (Tokyo), and pointed out that while U.S. military personnel leaving for Japan were exempt from pre-departure testing, returning personnel were required to take a PCR test before their departure from Japan. He urged the government to apply Japan’s quarantine rules to the U.S. military.

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