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The U.S. military has begun announcing the number of novel coronavirus cases at its bases in Japan.

The move came at the urging of Japan and follows a rising number of cases at bases this month.

The total number of cases stood at 140 as of Thursday, according to information released on the website of the U.S. Forces Japan.

“U.S. troops in Japan are working hard to alleviate worries among residents of (base-hosting) local communities,” Defense Minister Taro Kono said at a news conference Tuesday.

Kono also said that polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for the novel coronavirus will be conducted on Japanese workers at bases in Okinawa Prefecture, after cluster infections occurred among people with ties to bases in the prefecture.

Store employees and others who tend to have contact with many people will be given priority in the tests, according to the minister.

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