Saturday’s Nikkei reported that in light of the resurgence of COVID-19, the GOJ is set to deploy SDF nurses to local municipalities that increase their hospital beds for COVID-19 patients. The paper wrote that upon request from the governors, SDF nurses will be sent to areas where the numbers of COVID-19 patients are surging and will remain there for about two weeks. The daily said some hospitals are unable to accept COVID-19 patients even if they increase their beds because there are not enough nurses. Defense Minister Kishi reportedly told the press on Friday: “We are ready to swiftly deploy SDF medical staff if we receive requests from local municipalities.”
In a related story, Sunday’s Nikkei front-paged a report that the Ministry of Defense will reorganize SDF hospitals around the nation as early as FY2021 and enhance the functions of three of them located in the Tokyo metropolitan area as core hospitals for treating patients with infectious diseases and providing medical care in the event of disasters. The three hospitals are the Self Defense Forces Central Hospital in Setagaya, Tokyo, Yokosuka Hospital in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, and Iruma Hospital to be established in Iruma, Saitama.