Sunday’s Asahi reported on an announcement by the Okinawa Prefectural Government on Saturday that two more people were found to be infected with the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 in Okinawa. According to the daily, an American civilian worker in her 50s who works at Camp Hansen and her Japanese husband in his 60s were found to be infected with the Omicron variant. Saturday’s Asahi had reported that a Japanese man in his 50s working at Camp Hansen had tested positive for the Omicron variant. This brings the total number of people infected with the Omicron variant in Okinawa to three. The daily also reported that the Okinawa government was informed by the U.S. military that an additional 59 people in Camp Hansen tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases confirmed at the U.S. base to 158. Mainichi and Sankei carried similar stories.
Today’s Asahi wrote that the U.S. military notified the prefectural government on Sunday of 31 additional COVID-19 cases on bases in the southernmost prefecture. The paper said that other than one person stationed at Camp Foster, it is unknown which units the infected service members belong to.
The daily also said it remains unknown whether the cluster at Camp Hansen is due to the Omicron variant because there is no equipment to conduct genomic analysis at Camp Hansen. The paper also reported on the finding that U.S. service members stationed at the base are not subject to movement restrictions as long as they have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Under the SOFA, U.S. military personnel are exempt from Japanese domestic laws on quarantine. The paper said the Okinawa government is planning to ask the U.S. side to strengthen its quarantine measures.
According to today’s Nikkei and Mainichi, Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno visited Okinawa yesterday and held talks with the mayor of Kin Town, the host of Camp Hansen. The GOJ official reportedly promised Tokyo’s utmost efforts to alleviate local anxiety about the cluster infection at the U.S. installation.