Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi on Thursday asked that the U.S. military in Japan stay inside its bases to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
Hayashi said he spoke on the phone with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and was promised utmost efforts to ensure people’s health. It was not immediately clear if a base curfew would be issued.
Maj. Thomas R. Barger, a U.S. Forces in Japan spokesperson, said he could not comment on the request, but that a team was carefully monitoring cases and trends.
Hayashi’s request came as the U.S. military is promising more stringent measures to curb spreading cases. The new measures require all personnel, even when fully vaccinated, to wear masks on base until a third negative coronavirus test, and reiterate an order for all to wear masks when off base, Barger said.
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