US limits non-essential travel from military bases in Japan and South Korea


U.S. Marines unload a U.S. Air Force C-130J Super Hercules HIMARS during the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force and U.S. Marine Joint Military Exercise Resolute Dragon 21 at Maritime Force Hachinohe Air Base Japanese self-defense in Aomori prefecture on December 7. photo by Keizo Mori / UPI | License photo

January 9 (UPI) – The US Department of Defense has agreed to keep its troops on bases in Japan and limit activities outside of facilities in Korea amid growing cases of COVID-19.

On Sunday, the United States Forces in Japan and the government of the country announced that the rule would go into effect Monday and last for 14 days.

“The United States and Japan are committed to working together to protect the health of the Japanese people and the American military,” US Force Japan and the Japanese government said in a joint statement on Sunday.

The only essential means move outside the military bases.

US forces in Japan are also requiring all people to wear masks outside of their residence, both on and off the base.

The US Forces Korea lifted its peninsula-wide health protection alert to “Bravo Plus” on Friday, beginning Saturday until further notice with off-facility activities, sit-down meals in restaurants, indoor malls, bars, clubs, gyms, amusement parks, theaters, massage parlors, saunas, spas or festivals. Leisure travel to Seoul is also prohibited.

The number of cases in South Korea rose to 3,376 on Sunday after a record 7,843 on December 15, the 2020 high of 1,237 on December 25.

Japan reported 8,249 cases on Sunday, the highest in 8,480 cases. As of November 22, there were only 50 cases.

The country set a record 25,492 cases on August 21 after the Summer Olympics ended on August 8.

Only seven deaths have been reported in Japan. The death toll in South Korea has increased by 361.

More than half of US troops deployed overseas are stationed in Japan with 53,732 and South Korea with 26,416.

Most of the troops are in Okinawa, a group of islands in the southwest, which is the subject of renewed public health measures with Yamaguchi and Hiroshima until January 31.

There are no restrictions in Germany, with 43,911. That country reported 9,367 cases on Sunday and 42,422 on Saturday. But Germany is subject to a nationwide lockdown for the unvaccinated, including non-essential services. Major events are all prohibited.


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