Naha – The Okinawa Prefectural Police Department on Tuesday arrested a U.S. Marine belonging to a base hit by a cluster of COVID-19 infections on suspicion of drunk driving in the southernmost prefecture.
According to the department, the 25-year-old lance corporal, belonging to the U.S. Marine Corps' Camp Hansen in Okinawa, is suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol on a road in the town of Chatan at around 11:45 p.m. Monday.
As he admitted to the charges, the police released him and switched over to an investigation conducted on a noncompulsory basis.
At Camp Hansen, the number of people who tested positive for the novel coronavirus reached 215 by Wednesday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said.
The Japanese government and the Okinawa Prefectural Government had urged the U.S. military to impose strict restrictions on people's movements, after four people connected with the base tested positive for the omicron variant of the coronavirus by Monday.
Following the mass COVID-19 outbreak at Camp Hansen, Okinawa Gov. Denny Tamaki on Tuesday asked the U.S. side over the phone to ban outings by people at the base.
Lt. Gen. James Bierman said that the U.S. side has succeeded in suppressing infections at the base.
Tamaki also requested that the U.S. military suspend any transfers of military personnel from the United States to U.S. bases in Japan until the infection situation is brought under control.
Bierman said that he would like to consider how to handle the matter.
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