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Japan to deliver again some COVID restrictions as U.S. troops blamed for surge in infections


Tokyo — Japan introduced on Friday that it was bringing again COVID-19 restrictions in three states, or prefectures, because the nation grapples with its sixth wave of coronavirus infections, spurred by the Omicron variant. The brand new “quasi-state of emergency” was to take impact on January 9 and final at the least till the tip of the month, primarily urging bars and eating places to shut early.

Native leaders within the affected areas are blaming American troops based mostly in Japan for an enormous spike in circumstances.

Due to a number of the world’s hardest border restrictions and near-universal masks use, Japan had managed to maintain the Omicron variant below management and circumstances low. However over the previous couple of days, infections have surged in areas that host American navy bases, together with Okinawa, as U.S. troops – who had been exempt from strict Japanese entry necessities — returned from holidays within the U.S.


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After recording solely a handful of circumstances in December, Okinawa topped 1,400 infections this week alone.

Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki, who has lengthy known as for a downsizing of the U.S. navy presence on his island, blamed the American troops for the COVID surge.

The U.S. navy command in Japan has to date resisted calls, together with from the nation’s International Minister, for base lockdowns, as a substitute adopting obligatory mask-wearing and ordering troops to comply with Japanese guidelines for overseas journey, which means American troops now have to check and quarantine upon getting into the nation, identical to anybody else.

Japan had been relying on its robust border controls to maintain the pandemic at bay for an additional month, however the sudden spike round American bases has apparently caught Tokyo off guard, and left leaders scrambling for options.

U.S Marines On Okinawa Receive Coronavirus Vaccination
U.S. Marines line as much as get the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at Camp Hansen on April 28, 2021 in Kin, Okinawa prefecture, Japan. 

Carl Courtroom/Getty


The measures being reimposed in Okinawa, a southern Japanese island, and within the western prefectures of Hiroshima and Yamaguchi, signify the primary return to restrictions in Japan since September, when officers lifted controls that had been in place throughout the nation for a 12 months.

The Omicron variant has been detected in about 80% of Japan’s prefectures, and the variety of new infections throughout the nation was anticipated to surpass 5,000 on Friday, in comparison with a day by day common final month of solely about 200 circumstances.

“We have to be ready for the fast unfold of an infection,” Well being Minister Shigeyuki Goto informed reporters on Friday, citing Omicron’s advance. “There are circumstances the place there is no such thing as a historical past of abroad journey and the route of an infection is unknown, whereas the Delta pressure additionally continues to unfold.”



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