U.S. bases in Japan to come under tighter COVID-19 controls

Japan Times -- Jan 10
The United States has agreed to impose stricter COVID-19 measures at U.S. military bases in Japan, a U.S.-Japan joint statement said Sunday, amid concerns that outbreaks at bases have fueled infection in local communities.

For two weeks starting Monday, the movement of U.S. forces personnel outside base facilities will be restricted to essential activities, said the joint statement by the Japanese government and U.S. forces in Japan.

Denny Tamaki, governor of Okinawa Prefecture — host to a bulk of U.S. bases in Japan — said this month he was "furious" about what he called inadequate infection controls at U.S. bases that allowed the Omicron variant to spread to the public.

"The United States and Japan are committed to working together to protect the health of the Japanese people and U.S. service members," the joint statement said.

U.S. forces in Japan have already implemented a mandatory masking policy for all personnel, the statement also said.

The agreement comes after Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said during a TV appearance earlier that the United States had agreed to impose tougher COVID-19 measures and details were being worked out.

His comments came as areas near U.S. bases saw some of the biggest increases in infections on a per capita basis, prompting the government to introduce restrictions for the first time in months in some localities. Prefectural governors have blamed the problem at least in part on U.S. forces.

外務省は在日アメリカ軍関係者らによる基地からの外出について、10日から必要不可欠な活動に限るとした日米合同委員会の共同声明を発表しました。 - ANNnewsCH