Another US base in Japan loosens coronavirus restrictions for fully vaccinated troops
All “local area activities,” including visits to bars, nightclubs and karaoke rooms, are no longer off-limits to fully-vaccinated personnel at the home of U.S. Forces Japan in western Tokyo.
However, unvaccinated personnel at Yokota Air Base remain barred from these and other nonessential activities that have a potential for crowds, close contact or closed spaces.
The update to Yokota’s COVID-19 public health emergency was announced Friday in a letter from 374th Airlift Wing commander Col. Andrew Campbell.
Yokota’s local area is now defined as the “country of Japan,” minus Okinawa prefecture, which is under a state of emergency until July 11. Fully vaccinated is defined as 14 days after a person’s final dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“All limits on social gatherings and fitness activity group sizes have been removed” for fully vaccinated personnel, the base wrote in a Facebook post on Friday afternoon.
The unvaccinated must continue to wear masks on and off base, according to the new policy, though fully vaccinated individuals have been granted some leeway regarding masks on base.
Yokota’s policy update follows a Tuesday decision at nearby Yokosuka Naval Base to relax many off-duty restrictions. Bars, nightclubs and tattoo parlors are no longer off-limits to most sailors in Japan, thanks to the decision by base commander Capt. Rich Jarrett.
U.S. military bases across the country have also updated off-limits area maps as infections number continue to fall in most parts of the country.
As of 7 p.m. Friday, the U.S. military in Japan had reported only one new coronavirus patient, an unvaccinated employee at Yokosuka Naval Base, 35 miles south of central Tokyo. That person tested positive after displaying symptoms of COVID-19, the base said in a statement Friday afternoon.
Yokosuka has had 10 people test positive for COVID-19 so far this month. There were also 10 infections all of May.
Japan on Friday reported 1,245 new patients, 315 fewer than the same day last week, according to public broadcaster NHK and the World Health Organization. There were 22 deaths nationwide.
The government has counted just shy of 790,000 COVID-19 cases during the pandemic and more than 14,500 deaths, the WHO said.
Tokyo on Friday reported another 562 coronavirus infections and two deaths, according to NHK, which cited metropolitan government data. That’s 109 more than the same day last week.
Okinawa prefecture, home to most of the U.S. troops stationed in Japan, reported another 82 new infections Friday, four fewer than the same day last week, according to NHK. There were four deaths.