U.S. agrees to keep soldiers on base amid COVID surge in Japan

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Japan and the US have reached a “basic agreement” to prevent US troops from leaving their bases to stem the recent surge in COVID infections, AP reports,

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Why this matters: The deal comes days after Japan’s foreign minister urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to ask the Defense Department to impose stronger sanctions on bases to contain the virus spreading to areas with US military presence.

  • Last week, US Army Japan Japan implemented a number of preventive measures for all military installations, including a masked mandate, testing personnel on arrival and restricting movement until they test negative.
  • US troops are expected to remain at the base “except when absolutely necessary,” AP. According to, The details of the agreement have not been finalized yet.

big picture: Okinawa, home to several US military facilities, reported at least 981 new COVID cases last week. Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki alleged that US troops were responsible for the increase in infections.

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go in: Japan asks US military to remain at base to stop COVID spread

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