Tokyo – Okinawa officials said Monday that at least 94 U.S. soldiers at bases on the Japanese island had tested positive for the newThis creates longstanding tensions between the local population and the American military. The increase represents the largest number of cases reported by the U.S. military in Asia since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and local authorities are skeptical that U.S. virus control guidelines are sufficient.
More than half of the approximately 50,000 US troops in Japan are stationed in Okinawa. Three U.S. bases in Okinawa have confirmed infections: U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Camp Hansen, and Camp Kinser, which span a 40 km stretch in the southern half of the island.
Local reports say that July 4th parties, both at and outside of the bases, which involve hundreds if not thousands of employees and employees, are at the root of the new outbreak.
A ban is currently in effect and efforts are being made to track down people who have participated in the testing celebrations and to track down Japanese people who have been in close contact with those people and who may be infected.
Okinawa’s governor, Denny Tamaki, expressed his anger at the weekend, saying he was “shocked” by the size of the outbreak and “was concerned that a second wave had hit”.
He also doubted that the US was doing enough to stop the spread of the deadly disease on the island.
“I can’t help but have serious doubts about US measures against infections,” he told reporters.
Personnel traffic was restricted and service members and their families were prohibited from eating in city restaurants and from patronizing non-essential businesses.
Governor Tamaki, the son of an American father and an Okinawan mother, also urged the U.S. military to increase disease prevention efforts to the maximum, suspend the deployment of U.S. service members to Okinawa, and transparency with Okinawa prefectural officials to increase beyond the measures currently in force.
These officials say the US did not reveal details about the people who were already infected.
The rise in coronavirus cases in Okinawa is only worseningbetween the U.S. military and the people of the island – a story marked by crimes ranging from assaults to and that fueled the mood against the United States on the island.
Outside of Japan, the U.S. Armed Forces Korea confirmed 11 new cases of U.S. personnel in South Korea on Monday – all recently imported from the U.S.