Status of Forces Accord Hampering Japan's Border Controls

Politics

Tokyo, Jan. 9 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government's border controls against the novel coronavirus are not reaching the U.S. military in Japan, hampered by the Japan-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement.

Recently, infections have spread rapidly in Okinawa, Yamaguchi and Hiroshima prefectures, where many residents live in close proximity to U.S. military bases.

The U.S. military's lack of adequate antivirus measures apparently triggered infections among troops, which then spread to local civilians in the three prefectures.

To bring the coronavirus under control, the Japanese government decided Friday to take pre-emergency measures in the two base-hosting prefectures of Okinawa and Yamaguchi, as well as Hiroshima, which neighbors Yamaguchi.The number of new COVID-19 cases hit 1,759 in Okinawa and 547 in Hiroshima on Saturday, both record highs.

The Japanese government has not publicly traced the spread of infections to the U.S. forces in Japan. However, given that the three prefectures dominate the top three spots in terms of the number of infections per 100,000 people in Japan, U.S. bases are believed to have been a source of transmission.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press