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U.S. Army in Japan has several problems in coronavirus policy

Christian Fernsby |
Japan’s defense minister said Tuesday that officials have discovered a number of problems with U.S. military measures to guard against the coronavirus.

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Topics: U.S.    JAPAN   

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases among American personnel climbed toward 100.

The outbreak has fueled long simmering tension between the local population and the U.S. military in Okinawa.

With 99 cases confirmed on five different U.S. bases, the coronavirus surge in Okinawa represents the largest outbreak reported by the American military in Asia since the pandemic started, and local officials are skeptical that containment policies were sufficient to prevent the disease's spread.

More than half of the roughly 50,000 U.S. troops in Japan are based in Okinawa.

The vast majority of the new cases have been confirmed at U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and the Marines' Camp Hansen, with a handful more positive tests at Kadena Air Base, Camp McTureous and Camp Kinser.

Local officials and news reports have pointed to Fourth of July parties held both on and off the bases attended by hundreds if not thousands of personnel and employees as the likely root of the new outbreak.

Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki expressed anger over the weekend, saying he was "shocked" by the size of the outbreak and had "concern that a second wave has hit."

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