Tokyo, April 20 (Jiji Press)–Japan’s Defense Ministry said Monday that a male Maritime Self-Defense Force member stationed in Bahrain for a Middle East anti-piracy mission has been confirmed to be infected with the novel coronavirus.
He was the first to be found with the virus among Japanese Self-Defense Forces personnel being dispatched to the Middle East.
The male member, in his 20s, works for the command for Combined Task Force 151, which comprises units from Japan, the United States and other countries for anti-piracy operations.
The MSDF member took a test for the coronavirus after a cleaner working at the accommodation facility for him and other mission members tested positive for the virus, which has been spreading across the globe. His infection was confirmed on Saturday, according to the ministry.
An MSDF destroyer is now deployed in the Middle East for the anti-piracy operations and a mission to gather information to help ensure sea lane safety in the region for commercial ships related to Japan.
The confirmed infection of the MSDF member “has no impact at the moment” on the MSDF’s activities in the Middle East, a senior ministry official said, noting that the roles of CTF 151 include area coordination for the units participating in the anti-piracy mission but that the MSDF unit is not under the direct control of the command of the multinational task force.