On Thursday, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi demanded that the U.S. military in Japan remain within their bases to stop the spreading of COVID-19.
Hayashi revealed that he spoke via phone to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and was promised the most extraordinary effort to protect individuals’ health. There was no confirmation on whether the base curfew would be given.
Hayashi’s request came at a time when the U.S. military was already promising stricter measures to limit the spread of infections. The new rules make it mandatory for all personnel, even if they are fully vaccinated, to wear a mask at the base until they have a third test is negative for coronavirus and reiterate the requirement that all personnel wears masks.
American Forces are under fire following an increase in coronavirus cases in the areas where they’re stationed with many people, such as Okinawa and Iwakuni, which are both located in the southern part of Japan.
Many blame the U.S. Forces for “the alarming increase” of cases involving Okinawa, which is more impacted than other parts of Japan. Tamaki has promised financial assistance to businesses that comply with the rules.
Prime minister Fumio Kishida said he’s decided to tighten restrictions within Okinawa, Yamaguchi prefecture, in which Iwakuni can be found, as well as Hiroshima.
The daily count of 981 individuals tested positive for COVID-19 in Okinawa the day before Thursday.
Yamaguchi prefecture has also appealed to the government of Japan to increase the effectiveness of anti-virus measures after it identified a record number of 181 daily cases of COVID. Yamaguchi prefectural officials believe the disease spreads through U.S. soldiers and Japanese military personnel working in Iwakuni.
There is a steady increase in cases across Japan and even the city of Tokyo the city, which recorded 641 new points on Thursday, a rise from 390 earlier in the day. Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike has not been averse to imposing strict measures.
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