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Cablegate: Japan Avian Influenza Update

VZCZCXRO1557
PP RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHKO #1071 1090759
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 180759Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3565
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING PRIORITY 2882
RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI PRIORITY 1071
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA PRIORITY 4351
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL PRIORITY 8904
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA PRIORITY 7345
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA PRIORITY 5749
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA PRIORITY 9723
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE PRIORITY 1017
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO PRIORITY 7939
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA PRIORITY 3295
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS TOKYO 001071

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AIAG AMBASSADOR LANGE
DEPT FOR EAP/J AND OES/IHA
USDA PASS TO APHIS
HHS PASS TO CDC
HHS FOR OGHA STEIGER AND HICKEY
DEPT PASS TO AID/GH/HIDN DENNIS CARROLL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFLU TBIO KSTH ECON PREL SOCI CASC JA
SUBJECT: JAPAN AVIAN INFLUENZA UPDATE


Sensitive but unclassified. Please handle accordingly.

1. (U) No human or animal outbreaks of H5N1 Avian Influenza
(AI) were reported in Japan during the period from April 1 to
April 17.

GOJ Responds to South Korean Bird Flu Outbreak
--------------------------------------------- -
2. (SBU) In response to the current H5N1 AI outbreak in
South Korea, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and
Fisheries (MAFF) instructed quarantine stations at Japanese
ports of entry to sterilize the shoes of passengers arriving
from that country, according to an April 7 statement. The
MAFF had suspended imports of South Korean poultry products
in November 2007 after an earlier AI outbreak was reported.
Japanese media report local governments in Miyazaki,
Yamaguchi, and Tokushima prefectures have organized crisis
management meetings and are bolstering AI prevention systems
in response to the South Korean outbreak. Ministry of
Environment officials told embassy officers there has been no
increase in mortality among wild bird populations in Japan
since the outbreak in Korea began.

MHLW to Test Bird Flu Vaccine on First Responders
--------------------------------------------- ----
3. (SBU) An expert panel approved the Ministry of Health,
Labor, and Welfare's (MHLW) plan to begin H5N1 influenza
vaccinations of 6,000 volunteers in the summer of 2008,
according to MHLW officials. The volunteers will be selected
from first responders such as quarantine officers and health
professionals. The MHLW expects results in March 2009 to
determine the pre-pandemic vaccine's effectiveness against
multiple strains of influenza, the duration of immunity, and
the necessity of a second vaccination. Ministry officials
confirmed press reports that MHLW would consider vaccinating
a broader population of up to 10 million, including essential
government personnel, if the vaccine proves effective. The
GOJ's Inter-ministerial Avian Influenza Committee will
consider the results in a future review of the government's
Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Action Plan. Press reports
also indicate the GOJ plans to improve domestic cell-culture
vaccine production methods to reduce vaccine production time
to six months from the 18 months required using the current
egg-based production method.

GOJ Considers Border Measures for WHO Phase 4
---------------------------------------------
4. (U) A GOJ interagency team has drafted revised border
measures to be implemented if the WHO declares a phase 4
pandemic alert, according to recent press reports. (Note:
The WHO's pandemic alert index is currently at phase 3. End
Note). The Draft measures include restricting entry into
Japan for infected Japanese citizens residing abroad and
limiting international entry points to just four airports and
three seaports. The GOJ will consider the draft measures for
its Action Plan by July 2008 after a review by medical
experts, local governments, and airlines.
SCHIEFFER

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