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Okinawa government requests suspension of U.S.-Japan joint drills amid COVID concerns

  • January 28, 2021
  • , Okinawa Times
  • JMH Summary

Okinawa Times wrote that the GSDF’s amphibious unit will hold joint exercises with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit on beaches and in waters surrounding Okinawa from Jan. 28 through Feb. 6 involving about 230 GSDF troops and 2,500 Marine forces. The paper wrote that the Okinawa Prefectural Government requested the Defense Ministry’s Okinawa bureau on Wednesday to suspend the planned drills out of concern that U.S. troops’ participation in the exercises and GSDF personnel’s arrival from outside Okinawa would increase the risk of spreading COVID-19 in the prefecture. The paper wrote that the prefectural government took the action based on the fact that the local government has issued its own state of emergency and that the healthcare system in the prefecture is under strain. The paper speculated that the 43 COVID-19 cases confirmed on Jan. 20 among Camp Schwab and other U.S. military personnel also prompted the Okinawa government to make the request.

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