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Thursday, 30th April 2009
In General Japan News,

Japan steps up pig quarantine controls

Japan has introduced an inspection system for all pigs imported into the country in the wake of the outbreak of swine influenza across the world.

The move comes after the World Health Organisation raised its assessment of the global situation's seriousness to level five, suggesting that a pandemic is imminent.

Previously, only pigs that displayed flu-like symptoms were inspected; however, the ministry of agriculture, forestry and fisheries took the decision to increase quarantine restrictions in a bid to stop the disease spreading to humans in the country.

Takeo Kawamura, chief cabinet secretary, said Japan would not "fundamentally change its present policy immediately because of the upgrading of the alert phase but will thoroughly carry out preventive measures to keep the flu at bay".

It has emerged that 32 possible cases of swine flu are being investigated in Scotland, while the Department for Health is to send leaflets containing information about preventing the disease to 25 million households.

Written by Mike Cotgreave