Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Tuesday said that the government will further extend its entry ban on foreign visitors until the end of February amid a surge in the country's Omicron cases.
However, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno stated that foreign residents returning from 11 high-risk countries where Omicron has been detected will now be allowed to re-enter Japan under “humanitarian considerations.”
Japan has detected a total of 1,191 Omicron cases as of Jan. 4, including 479 cases considered community transmissions. The country has seen a spike in the daily number of CCP virus cases, with 8,249 new cases reported on Jan. 9.
Under the quasi-state of emergency, governors are allowed to impose stringent measures in the specified prefectures, such as shortening business hours and restricting the serving of alcohol in the prefectures.
Gov. Denny Tamaki said that Okinawa prefecture, host to the vast majority of U.S. military bases in Japan, has entered the sixth wave of the CCP virus. Okinawa had the most CCP virus cases among the other prefectures, with 1,533 new cases reported on Jan. 9.
Tamaki attributed the increase in CCP virus cases to the Omicron variant detected in multiple U.S. military bases in Japan and accused the U.S. forces of “insufficient” management.
It stated that all forces personnel are required to wear masks both on and off base, as well as when outside of their residences. They must also undergo coronavirus tests before and after arrival in Japan.
“[The U.S. Forces Japan], in consultation with [the government of Japan], will continuously monitor the COVID-19 situation and make adjustments to these measures as necessary,” it added.