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Japanese governor demands U.S. military meeting after coronavirus outbreak in Okinawa bases
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Japanese governor demands U.S. military meeting after coronavirus outbreak in Okinawa bases

A Japanese governor has demanded an explanation from the U.S. military after dozens of U.S. Marines at two bases in Okinawa were infected with coronavirus.

International

A Japanese governor has demanded an explanation after dozens of U.S. Marines at two bases on the southern island of Okinawa were infected with the coronavirus.

"We find it extremely regrettable," Okinawa's Governor Denny Tamaki told a news conference Saturday. "We cannot help but hold strong concern towards anti-infection measures implemented by the U.S. military."

Governor Tamaki could only say that a "few dozen" virus cases had been found, because the U.S. military had not disclosed the exact figures, he said, before calling for an immediate phone conference with U.S. military officials to discuss the number of infections and what anti-prevention measures were being taken.

"We have also received reports that people linked to the U.S. military have ventured out into the downtown area or participated in beach parties before and after the July 4th celebrations," Tamaki added, urging those who had attended such gatherings to call a hotline number to be tracked and traced.

The coronavirus outbreaks occurred at Marine Corps. Air Station Futenma and Camp Hansen, Tamaki said.

The Japanese central government has yet to comment.

Okinawa is home to more than half of about 50,000 American troops based in Japan under a bilateral security pact, and the residents are sensitive to U.S. base-related problems. Many Okinawans have long complained about pollution and noise related to U.S. bases.

The Marine Corps Installations Pacific said in a statement online on Saturday that there had been "two localized clusters of individuals who tested positive for the virus," but did not specify exact numbers.

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