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All U.S. forces in Japan exempted from virus tests since Sept: Hayashi

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If U.S. military personnel are flying into Japan on commercial aircraft, they should most definitely be obliged to test negative prior to departure, as required of the other passengers.

44 ( +48 / -4 )

It is way too little too late to do this as the clusters have expanded to the local population. What the heck were they thinking?

41 ( +44 / -3 )

The U.S. Defense Department had exempted its personnel from undergoing PCR tests because of the progress in vaccinations in the military 

Carelessness caused by misplaced confidence in the vaccines.

If health restrictions are in place they should be enforced on everybody equally, regardless of the wealth, position or which papers you have in your pocket.

9 ( +20 / -11 )

Carelessness caused by misplaced confidence in the vaccines.

If health restrictions are in place they should be enforced on everybody equally

The people to blame is the Commander in Chief and whoever he picked to run and make rules for the U.S. military. They very well could have made restrictions or mandates to prevent this.

20 ( +26 / -6 )

It seems this government has little control and can’t govern this country. Unbelievable. They may as well stop all restrictions.

3 ( +17 / -14 )

The people to blame is the Commander in Chief and whoever he picked to run and make rules for the U.S. military. They very well could have made restrictions or mandates to prevent this.

I was about to make almost the same comment here. It's not concern solely for the host Japan and locals. Under such a lax anti-virus rule, how could the military possible operate effectively in case of emergency? the overall credibility is questioned.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Japan have no say over American service people,

4 ( +17 / -13 )

This is why Japan is likely hiding its real COVID-19 infection cases and death cases. They don't even test the American troops who have been spreading the disease in Japan for months. Of course, the Japanese medical system only tests people with severe.

After the GDP data scandal is recently revealed, the next scandal will be likely the COVID-19 falsification scandal. Again, Abe and his friends will always get away!

7 ( +23 / -16 )

Nice way to say Japan has no control over the USA military or its personnel .

19 ( +29 / -10 )

The USA. A law unto itself, even in other people’s countries.

27 ( +33 / -6 )

Some tomodachi!

9 ( +17 / -8 )

This is why Japan is likely hiding its real COVID-19 infection cases and death cases. They don't even test the American troops who have been spreading the disease in Japan for months. Of course, the Japanese medical system only tests people with severe.

It's beyond Japan's jurisdiction, and the US military is responsible for its personnel's health. The same is true for the American embassy staff. Their confirmed cases or deaths are not counted as Japanese.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

Yet again self righteous Americans think they are above it all . Disgusting.

14 ( +29 / -15 )

Not sure why this is news?

Once the vaccines became available, no other controls, restrictions, etc. were necessary. There are also many highly effective therapeutics.

People are responsible for their own health.

-22 ( +4 / -26 )

Americans, imposing their own rules even on other countries.

If servicemen fly commercial, they should be tested prior to flight as required by the country of destination.

21 ( +25 / -4 )

It seems to me all soldiers are infected each other with delta/omicron in all military bases.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Knew it.

Japan is growing in strengh to point this out.

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

who is real boss in Japan than?

let me guess...our "protectors"?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

This is why Japan is likely hiding its real COVID-19 infection cases and death cases.

"Likely"? That kind of thinking is the birth of conspiracy theories. "Likely" means that the given explanation isn't only possible, it's probable. However, with no actual evidence that this is the case, claiming "likely" is way overestimating your ability to accurately make conclusions based on the given evidence.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Yet again self righteous Americans think they are above it all . Disgusting

We’re not a collective.

-5 ( +7 / -12 )

Doesn't the US military have rules regarding rendering oneself unfit for duty due to personal negligence (or similar wording)?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Just publicise their identities!

The shame will soon bring them back into line…

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

What irks me the most about this entire situation is the individuals with SOFA stamps in their passports who do not reside on base. They fly commercial airlines to various locations around the world and get all the perks of military members who live on base. This is unacceptable. I certainly do not want them being on public transportation traveling back to their homes while non-SOFA stamp passport holders are treated as they should with caution and placed into hotels and made to arrange their own transportation. Those are the rules. Take all the SOFA stamp passport holders from airports and fly them to a base to quarantine there until they are safe to mix with the general population.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

@Frank Ellis: Japan has limited COVID deaths to less than 18,000 whereas the US has had over 830,000 deaths. Americans must be stupid.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

Diplomats, airlines personals have also different rules and do not need to go through the testing procedures as others

5 ( +5 / -0 )

OMG! But those American military people are just being deployed to Japan. Therefore, each military personnel SHOULD COMPLY with the country's (in this case it's Japan!) Covid's Measures and Restrictions. Those US staff move around and mix with the locals and communities in Japan, for goodness sake! Those Americans do not own the country of Japan...they are just visitors! And as visitors, they have to follow and do what the country's Covid's Measures and Resttictions are!!!

4 ( +6 / -2 )

The U.S. military has the obligation to follow all public safety rules at any hosting nation, it is a standard policy so why Japan was any different, it sounds as if someone at the defense or health ministry has dropped the ball.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

One thing I'll say is that the US was quick to change its policy after vaccination became available and infections decreased. While in Japan, Covid-19 infections will have to be at zero for several months, maybe even years before any changes are made or we go back to normal.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

YrralToday  07:42 am JST

Japan have no say over American service people

That’s true on base.

I wonder what DOD or USFJ was thinking when they decided this? Pretty poor optics.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

People are responsible for their own health.

Dont know much about the US Military obviously!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Pathetic !!..

I hope that one day Japan will get rid of this interventionism that does not bring it any benefit..

YGH !!..

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Not much different to the 'self quarantine' Japan set for its people which let that woman bring in and spread the omicron strain. Don't get mad. Look in the mirror.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Take all the SOFA stamp passport holders from airports and fly them to a base to quarantine there until they are safe to mix with the general population.

They did that, and it caused a stink here because the military housed them in a private off base hotel instead of on base facilities.

What the military SHOULD be doing is not allow ANY personnel to fly commercially at all! Fly them directly into one of their airbases in Japan and quarantine them in base facilities. Keep them out of commercial airports, and if they do fly into commercial airports, have them follow the exact same procedures that Japanese citizens and foreign residents must adhere to!

11 ( +13 / -2 )

It's annoying as hell that Japanese citizens and foreign residents have to follow a set of rules that the military doesnt!

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Of course. The occupiers can do whatever the hell the like and if Japanese people don't like it, they can get out. At this point, a Chinese or Russian invasion of Japan would be a war of liberation against the occupiers.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

The vaccines do not make you immune from contracting or passing on Covid. They simply protect you from serious illness.

This disrespectful arrogance - making their own rules in other peoples' countries - is not going to endear the US military to the Japanese population. Lazy, idiot PR by the USG.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

What the military SHOULD be doing is not allow ANY personnel to fly commercially at all! Fly them directly into one of their airbases in Japan and quarantine them in base facilities. Keep them out of commercial airports, and if they do fly into commercial airports, have them follow the exact same procedures that Japanese citizens and foreign residents must adhere to!

Agreed completely. Know a couple SOFA individuals and they are as American as they come. Picking and choosing which situations to mask up in and engaging in non-essential international travel. If they were confined on the bases, I would not care so much. However, they live OFF base and think they’re special with their SOFA status. They don’t seem to care that others around them are extremely uncomfortable with their selfish actions. Taking buses and trains immediately after getting off a plane. It really exemplifies why America is in the state it is in.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The U.S. military a less than fine ally. After 75 years, still acts as if a conquering army of occupation.

Another of many reasons to kick the U.S. military out of Japan.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

As for individuals who declare vaccines are not effective - citing nonsense: "...vaccines do not make you immune," with the caveat, which is reductio ad absurdem: "they simply protect you from serious illness". That is false information. Nor have the vaccines made the disease worse, which is simple ignorance.

Among the numerous reasons Japan has a low rate of infection is immunization. Which is from inoculation of the vaccine(s).

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Hmmm, pretty stupid thing to do and certainly not how one should behave with an important alley Japan is

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The article doesn't mention the real problem. Too many antivaxers in the military.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Looks like we found the source of the leak.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

That was really stupid of the military if they did this. Doesn’t surprise me thought considering the wrong focus and basic incompetence of the current “woke” leadership

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The article is leaving out a lot of information:

Military personnel may have been avoiding the Japanese entry and quarantine because they were flying in on military aircraft, landing at a US base. The Japanese can't get them. They should, as it only makes sense. You follow the rules of your host country.

I will be coming in from the USA to Japan on a commercial flight, but I must test before getting on board, test when I land, go to the quarantine location and test again (2 times). Then and only then can I get on an airplane to my final destination in Japan, 15 days later. As it should be.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If they test and regulate the populations, they need to do the same for all people all the way to the highest levels. Cannot stand the ruling class "Only for thee, not for me" policies.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The idiocy of the Biden Administration is palpable. We’re now just shy of two years into an epidemic, the severity of which we’re constantly being reminded, only to learn that all our sacrifices are to no avail as the protective measures are full of holes big enough to drive a truck through. A spike in infection numbers, directly attributable to this lapse is really going to set the cat amongst the pigeons. This is a major loss of face for Japan and for the Americans, a lapse almost so stupid, it makes you wonder whether it’s deliberate.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Very simple. There are three big world powers, USA, Russia, China. And they just do what they want, while the rest has to bear whatever consequences if there are any. Some released it all, the others spread it everywhere, what do you small lights complain? That’s just another league they play in and your influence is exactly and constantly zero.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

No surprise here.

The same way the Japanese in Korea would not ask the Koreans for their opinions, laws or local customs, the American master does not bow to Japanese regulations.

The LDP relationship with the US is a French maid's to her 'madam'

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Nor have the vaccines made the disease worse, which is simple ignorance.

In many countries, they appear to be making it worse. In USA and Europe deaths are down due to coronavirus but excess deaths are way up. Interesting this is the case in all of them, not one or a few. A conspiracy theorist would say they are concealing coronavirus deaths.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Every person that enters Japan must conform without fear or favor to the rules.

Whether,** **Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

You have a choice.

Or you outlive your welcome.  

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In many countries, they appear to be making it worse.

Legitimate scientists are not claiming this.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

As an American, I apologize for this. Won't change a thing, but this is just one more reason to be embarrassed of my military and government. We should follow the rules. Period.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

There are three big world powers, USA, Russia, China.

The only thing Russia is powerful at is trolling on the internet, and cheating at the Olympics. Oh, and their leader looks damn sexy with his shirt off riding a horse.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The idiocy of the Biden Administration is palpable. We’re now just shy of two years into an epidemic, the severity of which we’re constantly being reminded, only to learn that all our sacrifices

Eh? American did almost nothing to fight the virus. What "sacrifices" are you speaking of? Having to wear a mask? Boo hoo.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

As an American, I apologize for this. Won't change a thing, but this is just one more reason to be embarrassed of my military and government. We should follow the rules. Period.

No. You should demand the occupiers return home and the money saved to go to universal health care.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

This is an overly-alarmist article that is generating way too much faux outrage...

US Forces Japan and the GOJ have been in close-coordination for over a year on COVID response and mitigation measures. All US military members arriving into Japan go into a ROM (Restriction of Movement) status where they remain within one building. USFJ has restricted unavaccinated personnel to base. USFJ even offered shots to its MLC Japanese workforce before Japan had set up its vaccination effort.

Don't be manipulated by this article's anti-US bias...

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Covid can be serious while it also being true that vaccination is not the solution.

As can clearly be seen by vaccinated being not tested under the false impression they can’t transmit COVID- when they can.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Japan's fault. Weak

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

"All of the U.S. forces in Japan had exempted their personnel from testing for novel coronavirus infections upon departure from the United States since Sept 3 in line with U.S. policy, Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said Friday."

Surprise, surprise and Merry Christmas! Meanwhile, unlike the rest of us judicially inoculated (and potentially discriminated against) people the American Beatle Baileys can scoot around with potential disease-spreading diseases.

This, if nothing else, shows it is time for the U.S. armed forces to get out of Japan.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

US Forces Japan and the GOJ have been in close-coordination for over a year on COVID response and mitigation measures. All US military members arriving into Japan go into a ROM (Restriction of Movement) status where they remain within one building. USFJ has restricted unavaccinated personnel to base. USFJ even offered shots to its MLC Japanese workforce before Japan had set up its vaccination effort.

You say this but it does not seem like it applies to all SOFA status passport holders. If you have insights as why individuals who don’t live on base, don’t pay taxes here in Japan, don’t pay into the healthcare system, and what not get the luxury of bypassing the quarantine procedures that other foreign residents (and presumably Japanese nationals) must follow, then I am all ears.

I know of a couple individuals who have travelled abroad already and have avoided any real stringent quarantine. Another individual is currently abroad and will return in a week or so and when that happens that individual will board a bus with locals after getting off an international flight and travel into the heart of Tokyo and spend time with other individuals all in the same day.

This is not being alarmist. This is what is happening and it is not acceptable at all.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I would guess the american citizens flying on those flights, domestic and international, would be upset as well if they knew the jar head sitting next to them has not been tested.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan's language towards the US has growing strong lately.

telling US to ground plane after the fallen gas tanks

telling US to test its soldiers and quarantine

revealing US soldiers not being tested

not joining US's diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter 2022

Kishida is changing Japan! Gambatte Strong Japan, the world is with you!

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Just like diplomats and the Rich who come in with Private Jets.

2-tier border policy, and it actually has nothing to do with citizenship.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

not joining US's diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter 2022

Umm:

Japan decides not to send gov't delegation to Beijing Olympics

Japan announced Friday it won't send a delegation of ministers to represent the government at the Beijing Games but three Olympic officials will attend, a decision that follows a U.S.-led move to diplomatically boycott the Games to protest China's human rights conditions.

https://japantoday.com/category/politics/japan-won't-send-government-delegation-to-beijing-olympics

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@Strangerland

Ummm

He said Tokyo Olympic organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto, Japanese Olympic Committee president Yasuhiro Yamashita and Japan Paralympic Committee president Kazuyuki Mori will attend.

Matsuno said the three officials will attend at the invitation of the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees to represent the JOC and JPC.

Asked if it's a diplomatic boycott, Matsuno responded by saying: "We don't use a particular term to describe how we attend."

Immediately after this, US started making Visa for their officials coming to Beijing. They fear Japan!

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

@Strangerland

Because Japan doesn't boycott Beijing Olympics, silly.

They sent their own Olympic committee members, athletes and refuse to say it's a boycott.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Because Japan doesn't boycott Beijing Olympics, silly.

Um, neither are the Americans.

They sent their own Olympic committee members, athletes

How is that different from the Americans? Although your use of past tense is very strange here.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Strangerland

If the US doesn't boycott the Beijing Olympics, no problem then!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

If the US doesn't boycott the Beijing Olympics, no problem then!

The US is doing a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics, and Japan has decided to follow suit, proving this statement to be incorrect:

not joining US's diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter 2022

2 ( +3 / -1 )

BigYenToday  07:50 am JST

The USA. A law unto itself, even in other people’s countries.

Well, is there any OTHER kind of REAL law?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@Strangerland

He said Tokyo Olympic organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto, Japanese Olympic Committee president Yasuhiro Yamashita and Japan Paralympic Committee president Kazuyuki Mori will attend.

Matsuno said the three officials will attend at the invitation of the International Olympic and Paralympic Committees to represent the JOC and JPC.

Asked if it's a diplomatic boycott, Matsuno responded by saying: "We don't use a particular term to describe how we attend."

Again, Japan doesn't call/consider it a diplomatic boycott, and is sending Olympic committee members and athletes over, that's why US is mad.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Again, Japan doesn't call/consider it a diplomatic boycott

And yet, they're not sending any diplomats. A rose by any other name...

and is sending Olympic committee members and athletes over, that's why US is mad.

The US is doing the same thing, what gives you the silly idea they're mad?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan's fault. Weak

True

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Just treat the USA Military like Olympic athletes and everything will go beautifully, those were some good times last August. For the virus that is.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is not true for US SOFA members traveling commercially-US Military Civilian workers and their dependents and US Service members’ dependents. We all had to take COVID test to travel and they must be negative. This is per Japan Border Control and all airlines coming into Japan. Please report correctly. This sounds like a ruling for US Service Members traveling via US military airlines which travels directly to bases not airports in Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

When vaccines were but a talking point in Japan,it was the American military that were having vaccinations on base.

The very fact that fully, expensively vaccinated individuals can spread Omicron must be a complete embarrassment for the pharmaceutical industry.

When visitors from mainland Japan, visiting Okinawa return home the this latest variant will be shooting up…

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

All US military members arriving into Japan go into a ROM (Restriction of Movement) status where they remain within one building. USFJ has restricted unavaccinated personnel to base. USFJ even offered shots to its MLC Japanese workforce before Japan had set up its vaccination effort.

Don't be manipulated by this article's anti-US bias...

Wait one...the US offered the shots BEFORE Japan authorized the vaccinations. The Japanese government refused because IF there were any side effects or problems from the shots, the US government could not take responsibility and the Japanese, since it had not yet authorized the vaccinations.

Dont try and make it sound like the US was being "generous" with it's offer! Even active duty members openly REFUSED the vaccination until it became mandatory!

Hindsight is 20/20 and only giving partial information is wrong!

Dont be manipulated by half-arsed information either!

Let's not forget that ROM is NOT in "one" building either! That's pure BS!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Strangerland

Nice wordplay, but Japan doesn't consider it a diplomatic boycott, thus it's not.

The Olympic committee members can serve as diplomat, as well as Ambassador of Japan in China.

The US is doing the same thing, what gives you the silly idea they're mad?

They are fuming that Japan is not diplomatic boycotting China.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@P. Smith

Haha, american soldiers fuming again.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Coincidentally, it was the US military that spread around the Sapnish Flu all over the world too....

If the military have been exempt from testing then all international border controls and restrictions to stop Covid have been meaningless.

Knowing this, my question is, until when will average person put up with these meaningless restrictions and government ineptitude?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

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