US, Japan Resolve to Retain Soldiers on Post to Stop COVID

Concerned about a significant increase in coronavirus infections in the country, the United States and Japan decided to confine American soldiers to their respective bases on Sunday.

The limitations, which will begin on Monday and run for 14 days, would confine American troops to base installations save for “necessary tasks,” according to a release from the United States Forces in Japan.

The Japanese Foreign Office issued a similar statement to the previous one.

According to the statement, the partners will share data and interact on coronavirus prevention and control measures.

Per the statement, U.S. military personnel will wear masks outside their houses, both on and off base, and undergo stringent testing before and after their arrival in Japan.

COVID’s Influence

In Japan, the number of cases has increased by 19, with the total number of cases exceeding 8,000 on Saturday, setting a four-month high.

The increase has been especially noticeable in communities around military bases in the United States. Japan requested assistance from the United States last week to keep its military men on site.

Among the three regions where separate government limitations took effect on Sunday was Okinawa, a southern collection of islands home to most 55,000 American soldiers stationed in Japan.

In addition to early closing hours for eateries, which will be implemented until the end of the month, other measures will be implemented as well. Some eateries will also be required to discontinue the sale of alcoholic beverages.

The limitations were in force in Yamaguchi province, where the Iwakuni base is situated and in the neighboring city of Hiroshima.

Visitor access to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, which recounts the United States’ atomic bombing of Japan after World War II, and Hiroshima Castle has been suspended.

Similar limitations may be implemented in other locations if the number of reported COVID cases continues to rise.

Regulations and Restrictions

Citizens have been advised to stay at home and refrain from traveling.

Until recently, clubs, shrines, and retail areas were swarming with year-end shoppers and New Year’s holiday tourists on their way to their destinations.

On two consecutive days in Tokyo, the number of confirmed daily cases increased by more than 1,200, a 14-fold increase over the previous week.

Japanese authorities never declared a state of emergency during the outbreak; although, they have enacted various restrictions, such as school closures and cancellations of events.

Approximately 80% of the population has received their second dose of the vaccine.

Boosters have only recently begun to be distributed, with less than 1% of the population receiving them, despite repeated government promises to expedite their distribution.

Japan implemented rigid border restrictions, preventing most inbound travel, except returning residents and citizens, from entering the country.

Japan also documented around 18,300 fatalities associated with COVID-19 so far. There have only been one or two fatalities in recent days, and on other days, there have been none at all.