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Japan, United States discuss jump in Coronavirus cases at United States military bases

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Japan, United States discuss jump in Coronavirus cases at United States military bases

Japan and the United States are sharing information about Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections at United States 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 United States 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 United States military’s measures to prevent infections,” he said, adding that there are 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 United States 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.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

Emmanuel Okara: is a graduate and a professionally trained journalist, with experience in national news reporting/editing and verification at the News Agency of Nigeria. NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

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