Okinawa Times and Ryukyu Shimpo gave front- and inside-page coverage to the Okinawa prefectural government’s announcement on Wednesday that it has been told by the U.S. military that a total of five military community members at MCAS Futenma, including an unspecified number of civilian workers, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. As all of them are reportedly assigned to the same workplace, the papers speculated that a “cluster infection” occurred at the installation. As the U.S. military reportedly plans to administer PCR tests on the more than 100 people who may have come into close contact with the five carriers, the dailies predicted that additional cases may be detected in the near future. All of them were allegedly infected in Okinawa after undergoing a two-week quarantine upon their arrival from unspecified foreign countries.
The prefectural government has reportedly been calling for the base authorities to provide more information on the five people, such as whether they had been off base prior to testing or had contact with Japanese base employees. Governor Tamaki reportedly told the press yesterday that he will urge the Okinawa Defense Bureau and the MOFA Okinawa Office to call on the U.S. military to provide information on the cases and cooperation in conducting an epidemiological investigation within the military community. Okinawa Times wrote that as most U.S. service members and civilian workers use military planes when arriving at bases in Okinawa, the Japanese side is not able to conduct quarantine procedures of its own.