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The Defense Ministry said Friday that it will dispatch seven nurses from the Ground Self-Defense Force’s Middle Army to Osaka Prefecture, which is on the brink of a medical system collapse due to rising coronavirus cases.

The dispatch will be made as a disaster response under the Self-Defense Forces law at the request of Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura. According to the ministry’s Joint Staff, the nurses, to be sent on Tuesday, will be deployed until Dec. 28.

They will assist doctors by conducting medical checkups, managing respirators and measuring the temperatures of patients at a temporary facility to treat severely ill coronavirus patients, which will open on Tuesday at the Osaka General Medical Center in the city of Osaka and Osaka Prefectural Nakakawachi Emergency and Critical Care Center in the city of Higashiosaka.

GSDF 1st Lt. Sayaka Hoshino, one of the nurses, met with Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tokyo on Friday to detail their upcoming mission. “I want you to fulfilll your duties so that no one becomes severely ill or dies,” Kishi told her.

Hoshino, who has experience working in an intensive care unit at a hospital, is set to be dispatched to the temporary facility in the city of Osaka.

Earlier on Friday, the minister visited the SDF Central Hospital in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward, where 25 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, to check infection prevention measures there.

Some GSDF nurses have already been deployed to Asahikawa, Hokkaido, for medical support. The medical care system in the city is also on the verge of collapse due to the coronavirus epidemic.

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