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Kishida urged to press U.S. to comply with Japanese rules on public health

TV Asahi’s noontime infotainment show highlighted the rampant spread of COVID-19 on U.S. bases in Japan, citing Foreign Minister Hayashi’s disclosure in the morning at the Diet that a total of 6,350 military community members had tested positive across Japan as of Wednesday afternoon in the latest wave. Almost 60% of the cases were confirmed in Okinawa. One commentator expressed disappointment that Prime Minister Kishida was “evasive” in responding to an opposition Diet member’s query yesterday as to why the administration is hesitant to review the SOFA. She argued that when it comes to ensuring public health, the U.S. military should abide by Japanese regulations. Noting that the premier plans to hold a virtual summit with President Biden on Friday, another panelist said the prime minister should urge the U.S. leader to instruct the military to adopt Japan’s protocols and rules for preventing infections diseases. “While the U.S.-Japan alliance is necessary to deal with a rising China, the U.S. military is now being viewed by the base-hosting communities as a nuisance that poses a threat to the health of the local people,” said the guest commentator. “In order to ensure public confidence in the alliance, the prime minister should at least call for the President to adopt tougher infection prevention measures for the U.S. military, if not a revision of the SOFA.”

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