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40 Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members in US for joint drills test positive for COVID

  • January 20, 2022
  • , The Mainichi
  • English Press

TOKYO — A total of 40 Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) members aged from their 20s to 40s who had gone to the United States for joint training with U.S. Marine Corps were confirmed infected with the coronavirus, the GSDF announced Jan. 19.


The infection routes are unknown, and the personnel have either mild or no symptoms. They are reportedly under isolation at a U.S. military facility.


According to the GSDF, about 190 members of the Amphibious Rapid Deployment Brigade based in Camp Ainoura in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, and other units were dispatched to the U.S. They departed via civilian aircraft from Jan. 2 in order to participate in Iron Fist 22, a bilateral training exercise for defending remote islands which has been taking place since Jan. 10 and will continue through Feb. 16.


All the GSDF members had negative PCR test results before their departure. However, when they retook tests after their arrival in the U.S., it was revealed on Jan. 8 and 12 (Japan time) that a total of three members had contracted the virus. On Jan. 15, four more members who had complained of fever were also confirmed infected. Testing was expanded to other personnel, and on Jan. 17 and 18 (Japan time), a total of 33 infections were confirmed.


Personnel have reportedly been wearing masks in principle, and have not left the U.S. military facility. The training sessions have been continued with some changes, and it was announced that infections have also been confirmed among the U.S. military side.

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