US Army Japan greenlights limited social gatherings; on-post dine-in options to begin Monday
By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 29, 2020
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TOKYO — Army posts in Japan have relaxed some restrictions imposed on service members to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
U.S. Army Japan announced late Friday afternoon that those living in on-base family housing or in off-post homes paid for by the government may “engage in restricted parties or social gatherings of up to 10 people.” The limit for soldiers living in barracks rooms is four people.
“All personnel are required to continue to practice social distancing, use of personal protective equipment and enhanced sanitation,” the statement said.
The rules are effective immediately.
Starting Monday, limited dine-in options will be offered at Army posts in Japan, the announcement said. Social distancing measures will be enforced.
No changes have been made to off-post dining restrictions, which are limited to takeout within 10 kilometers, or 6.2 miles, of a person’s duty station.
Also on Friday, U.S. Army Garrison Japan, based at Camp Zama near Tokyo, announced that a worker at Sagamihara Yaei Post Office near the Army’s Sagami General Depot had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The post office will remain off limits to all U.S. Army Japan personnel through June 12, the announcement said.
“Anyone who visited that post office since May 12 should immediately contact their chain-of-command,” it added.
The updates come less than a week after Japanese Prime Minster Shinzo Abe ended a 42-day state of emergency in all areas of Japan, including Tokyo, where the pandemic was most deeply felt. People were asked but not forced to stay at home; nonessential businesses were asked to close or reduce operations.
U.S. military bases in the Tokyo metro area remain under a public health emergency declared April 15 by U.S. Forces Japan. Restrictions vary by installation but typically limit travel to off-base homes and workplaces and shopping for essential services only.
Those restrictions are scheduled to end June 14, except at Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo, where they may last until June 30.