- The Washington Times
Monday, January 10, 2022

The fast spread of the omicron variant means U.S. military troops in Japan won’t be allowed off base for at least two weeks because of the recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the country. 

U.S. Forces, Japan (USFJ), and the Japanese government have agreed to the measures which they say are needed to protect personnel and the local communities from the spread of the coronavirus. The new restrictions took effect on Jan. 10. Any movement outside the bases will be restricted to essential activities only, officials said.

“USFJ has also implemented a mandatory masking policy for all personnel, both on and off base, when outside of their residences,” authorities said. 

Officials from both countries, including Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and his Japanese counterpart, discussed coronavirus measures during their Jan. 7, 2022 security consultative committee meetings. Mr. Austin himself is just recovering from a recent case of COVID-19, having caught the virus despite being fully vaccinated.

Both countries are “focused on implementing prudent, appropriate and medically-informed measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus which causes COVID-19,” U.S. military officials said.

Coronavirus testing procedures and a 14-day quarantine period will continue for any personnel returning to the United States or transferring to Japan.

SEE ALSO: Doctors: Co-infection of flu and coronavirus possible, but ‘flurona’ not a superbug

The virus has proven a persistent readiness challenge for Defense Department officials, who have tried to limit COVID’s spread through the ranks while also enforcing mandates on all service personnel to get the vaccine.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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