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Okinawa Pref. to demand info on 2 US airmen at local base infected with coronavirus

The Okinawa prefectural headquarters is seen in Naha in this March 1, 2019 file photo. (Mainichi/Takayasu Endo)

NAHA -- Okinawa Prefecture is set to demand detailed information from the United States military on two airmen stationed at the U.S. Air Force's Kadena Air Base diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, it was revealed on March 30.

The U.S. Air Force's 18th Wing, based at Kadena in Japan's southernmost prefecture of Okinawa, reported the two cases to the prefectural government via the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Okinawa Liaison Office and other organs on March 28, stating that the airmen were confirmed to have the virus after returning from overseas. The 18th Wing apparently stated that the two airmen were in isolation on-base, but did not provide further details such as their age, sex, the method of isolation or their movement histories before they began to present symptoms.

The Okinawa government is concerned about the transmission risk from the pair, as Japanese civilians work on the base and some U.S. military personnel attached to Kadena live in the local community.

"We would like to get accurate information (on the two cases) to prevent anxiety among prefectural residents," stated Yasushi Sunakawa, chief of Okinawa Prefecture's health department.

(Japanese original by Takayasu Endo, Naha Bureau)

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