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THE Japanese Communist Party (JCP) has warned that detailed information on Covid-19 infection rates among US troops in the country is being concealed.
The issue was raised by JCP deputy Akamine Seiken at the House of Representatives security committee last week.
He said that there was “a considerable number” of infected US troops on bases in Japan, risking civilian employees and those in communities where many soldiers live off-base.
Mr Akamine argued that the information was necessary to enable Japan to effectively deal with the spread of coronavirus.
But he was rebuffed by the Foreign Ministry’s North American affairs bureau chief Suzuki Kazuhiro, who insisted that the Pentagon does not allow Tokyo to reveal any information other than the total number of infected troops.
Almost 5,500 people had contracted Covid-19 in Japan with 88 deaths as of yesterday, a figure that is set to rise.
The government implemented a state of emergency earlier this week, with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warning that the rise in infections was placing a strain on Japan’s health services.
Mr Akamine said that Washington should respect Japanese sovereignty.
“It should be the Japanese government that has the responsibility to deal with anti-coronavirus measures in Japan, even on US bases,” he said.
“The occurrence and frequency of coronavirus infections on US military bases and installations in Japan should be made public because this is vital information linked to residents’ safety and health.”
According to US Department of Defence figures, over 2,000 service personnel, including family members and civilian staff, have tested positive for coronavirus, while eight have died.
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