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Japan, U.S. discuss coronavirus cases at military bases in Okinawa

19 Comments

Japan and the United States are sharing information about coronavirus infections at U.S. military bases after an outbreak provoked ire in the southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, a top Japanese official said on Monday.

Of the 62 individuals Okinawa confirmed had tested positive from Tuesday to Sunday, 39 were at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, 22 at Camp Hansen and one at Camp Kinser. Later on Monday, TV Asahi said 32 more cases were confirmed at Futenma.

"We will cooperate appropriately on this matter," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a regular news briefing. "Japan and the United States are sharing information about the activity history of the infected military individuals."

Okinawa hosts the bulk of U.S. military forces in Japan, whose alliance with Washington is central to its security.

But many Okinawans associate the bases with problems from crime to accidents, and want the Marines to reduce their presence there or leave altogether.

At the weekend, Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki said it was"extremely regrettable" that a large number of infections had occurred in a short time, adding that Okinawans were "shocked" by the news.

"I can't help but have strong doubts about the U.S. military's measures to prevent infections," he said, adding that there were reports of personnel leaving base for beach parties and visits to night life districts around Independence Day on July 4.

On its Facebook page for Pacific bases, the Marine Corps said it was prohibiting off-base activity for all installations across Okinawa, except essential needs such as medical appointments approved by a commanding officer.

"We are trying to limit as much contact (with local people) as we can, as we look to contact tracing of infected personnel," a U.S. military spokesman said.

Excluding the bases, Okinawa's infections stand at 148, with seven deaths, the prefecture's website shows. Nationwide, Japan has recorded nearly 22,000 cases and 1,000 deaths.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

19 Comments
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On its Facebook page for Pacific bases, the Marine Corps said it was prohibiting off-base activity for all installations across Okinawa, except essential needs such as medical appointments approved by a commanding officer.

https://www.facebook.com/IIIMEF/

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I just spoke with Kadena last week land there were no cases so this must've just occurred

I hope all get well and no one else catches it.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So the US is hiding numbers and entering and exiting our country with zero restrictions and spreading the virus to civilian populations?

seems fair.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Araha beach was pretty full on Saturday. The Japanese at the party/barbecue tents were organised so that there was a distance between each party. But for most of the military guys on the beach, it was business as usual. Very few with masks and no social distancing that I could see.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

You would think right, I just saw a service member talking to about his Y plated (so much for force protection right? and the famous black mask made from underwear that it doesn't take a scientist to figure out ooh base people) flapping his jaws and no social distancing, had a mask but was off and no social distance or min 10 minute limit. Go figure. On the flip-side i have a JSDAF fighter jet training instructor who has been camping in all parts of Japan with no one telling him anything. The base was locked down but this guy still went camping though "all" base personnel was a no go. He is in a joint base.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

re: On its Facebook page for Pacific bases, the Marine Corps said it was prohibiting off-base activity for all installations across Okinawa, except essential needs such as medical appointments approved by a commanding officer.

Like a second hand shop in an area that they are is on their off limits website. The other night I saw dependent kids with an air rifle and air hand gun in another neighbors arm, carrying it around like no big deal.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But for most of the military guys on the beach, it was business as usual. Very few with masks and no social distancing that I could see.

I don’t wear a mask and I can’t always social distance in my line of work always, depending here in Japan and we’re all fine. I wouldn’t freak out.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

I don’t wear a mask and I can’t always social distance in my line of work always, depending here in Japan and we’re all fine. I wouldn’t freak out.

You said you are teleworking from home for 15 years so you wouldn't have to wear a mask. But what about your wife and children, are they wearing masks.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don’t wear a mask

I was sorry to hear about the acne trouble you were having with wearing masks. I recommend asking your parents to send Oxy pads or Noxzema from home, they work wonders.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

You said you are teleworking from home for 15 years so you wouldn't have to wear a mask.

But I have to go out and meet clients, so I do go out as well.

But what about your wife and children, are they wearing masks.

They do, I don’t.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

But I have to go out and meet clients, so I do go out as well.

so your clients are happy to meet you without you wearing a mask?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Masks help to prevent the transmission of the virus if someone is wearing one and they have the virus. Since it is possible to have the virus and not have symptoms, it makes sense to wear a mask even when you are feeling healthy. It is more than a mere courtesy. It is the right thing to do.

I am an American and a military retiree. I am proud of our young men and women in the military. They normally act like gentlemen and ladies. But, they are young. It is difficult for young people all around the world to temper their social lives and remain vigilant at all times. But, they must.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Koujuke39, here's the thing mate, first off all great that you completed your service honorably, however it isn't always the younger generation. Leadership is just not serious enough and easing to quickly. Like you pointed out "it's the right thing to do but they are not else no issues" and a red pop.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It seems to me more and more soldiers get infected in the isolated base and others. They should be sent back home and quarantined there as soon as possible.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@rgcililian1, I didn't mean that the younger generation are always at fault. I read that 80% of yesterday's total of 224 virus cases in Tokyo were folks in their 20's and 30's. It is just a snapshot of the virus but it is telling.

I didn't understand anything you wrote after "Like you pointed it's the right thing to do but ???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gee, Japan wanting to "discuss" something - shocker.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The US military needs to treat where they are with respect, consideration and due intelligence. They have not done this in Okinawa and treat the locals like second class citizens in their own country. The whole approach, the COs, the hierarchy are an absolute disgrace. Utter incompetence, lack of due care and appalling disregard for the health of the local community.

If you don’t wear mask, sanitise your hands, and social distance, you’re a covidiot and need to read up on cognitive dissonance. Shame this publication will not allow me and thousands more of us to truly speak our minds, the are would be on fire. Stay safe. Keep others safe. Don’t be a selfish idiot.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Military intelligence? Don’t count on it. The very LEAST the USMC has to be doing is screening ALL personnel and families PRIOR (as in BEFORE) to UDP or PCS-ing to Okinawa (O-ki-na-wa). Anything else is the same old arrogance, irresponsible boneheaded approach of the... Treat Okinawa with respect you... !!!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

so your clients are happy to meet you without you wearing a mask?

Happy, don’t know and don’t care, I don’t wear a mask, but that they need my work, they don’t and won’t say anything.

If you don’t wear mask, sanitise your hands, and social distance, you’re a covidiot and need to read up on cognitive dissonance. Shame this publication will not allow me and thousands more of us to truly speak our minds, the are would be on fire. Stay safe. Keep others safe. Don’t be a selfish idiot.

I totally agree.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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