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Lacking hospital ships for virus response, Japan to fill the gap

New and retrofitted vessels both under consideration

The U.S. Navy's USNS Comfort is a dedicated hospital ship painted the standard white. Japan lacks any such vessel.    © Reuters

TOKYO -- The outbreak of the new coronavirus in Japan has renewed calls in political circles to commission hospital ships for treatment offshore in times of emergency.

Two such vessels are said to be sufficient to reach a trouble spot in Japan within 24 hours. But the Self-Defense Forces do not have any dedicated hospital ships.

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