Japan urges U.S. military to thoroughly test for COVID-19

2021.12.25 06:30
Virus of COVID-19

Virus of COVID-19

Foreign Minister Hayashi Yoshimasa announced on December 22, US Marine Corps units that confirmed to be infected with a cluster of COVID-19 had not undergone PCR testing when they left the United States and when they arrived in Japan. A cluster was occurring at the US military Camp Hansen in Okinawa. The restrictions on activities within this base were also inadequate.
Hayashi criticized that it was "not consistent with Japan's measures," and and said he had requested the U.S. to make improvements. The United States has indicated that soldiers entering Japan will be inspected before leaving Japan. The United States has also decided to carry out genome analysis of Omicron strains. However, due to the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement, the situation in which Japan has not taken effective measures to prevent the spread of infection has not changed.
Hayashi had a telephone conversation with the commander of the U.S. Forces Japan. Based on the fact that the cluster seems to have started from a unit that has not been tested by PCR, Hayashi explained, "We requested that the tests be thoroughly conducted before departure and at the time of entry."
The Government of Japan and Okinawa Prefecture, which took the cluster seriously, requested repeatedly the United States to carry out variant testing and genome analysis according to the procedures in Japan. However, the arrangements regarding US military personnel became a barrier.
Due to the Japan-US Status of Forces Agreement and the Japan-US Joint Committee Agreement, Japan cannot be involved not only in quarantine but also in measures to prevent the spread of infection.
In response to public opposition, the US military has changed its policy to carry out variant testing and genome analysis, but it is limited to Camp Hansen. Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno Hirokazu said at a press conference, "We are continuing to communicate closely with the U.S. side, and new information is available. I would like to share it with the people concerned as soon as it is obtained. "

This article is composed using Google Translate customized exclusively for The Chunichi Shimbun. The translation may have limited accuracy.