People wear face masks in the Omotesando area of central Tokyo, Monday, March 16, 2020. AKIFUMI ISHIKAWA/STARS AND STRIPES
People wear face masks in the Omotesando area of central Tokyo, Monday, March 16, 2020. AKIFUMI ISHIKAWA/STARS AND STRIPES

US military bases in Japan adapt to life under coronavirus threat

by Caitlin Doornbos
Stars and Stripes

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Fitness classes are postponed, some religious services will move online and bingo games are canceled as U.S. military bases across Japan adapt to everyday life in the time of coronavirus.

Guards at the gates to U.S. bases started a hands-off policy for checking ID cards. At Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo, the Samurai Fitness Center on Tuesday canceled some group exercise classes and intramural sports and put the steam and sauna rooms off limits. At Yokosuka Naval Base, the Morale, Welfare and Recreation office canceled bingo.

Officials with U.S. Forces Japan, headquartered at Yokota, at a Facebook town hall Tuesday told viewers to stay flexible, expect changes and stay in touch with unit commanders for more information.

“The situation is evolving, and policy is changing,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard Winegardner Jr., the USFJ top enlisted leader. “Keep talking to your commanders and medical providers.”

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.622663

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