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Cablegate: Japan Avian Influenza Update

VZCZCXRO3750
PP RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD
DE RUEHKO #1214/01 1230810
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 020810Z MAY 08
FM AMEMBASSY TOKYO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3949
INFO RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 9151
RUEHJA/AMEMBASSY JAKARTA 4352
RUEHHI/AMEMBASSY HANOI 1072
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 3134
RUEHMO/AMEMBASSY MOSCOW 2271
RUEHCP/AMEMBASSY COPENHAGEN 0531
RUEHFK/AMCONSUL FUKUOKA 7595
RUEHNAG/AMCONSUL NAGOYA 5957
RUEHNH/AMCONSUL NAHA 9979
RUEHOK/AMCONSUL OSAKA KOBE 1274
RUEHKSO/AMCONSUL SAPPORO 8190
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 8580
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TOKYO 001214

SIPDIS

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

SIPDIS

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

REF: A. 05 STATE 153802

B. 08 TOKYO 882 AND PREVIOUS
C. 06 TOKYO 2135
D. 08 SAPPORO 0031

TOKYO 00001214 001.2 OF 002


1. No human outbreaks of H5N1 Avian Influenza (AI) were reported in
Japan during the period of April 18 to May 2, 2008.

H5N1 Detected in Wild Swans in Northern Japan
---------------------------------------------
2. As reported in ref D, Japan's National Institute of Animal
Health confirmed H5N1 avian influenza (AI) was detected in three
dead swans and one dying swan found near Lake Towada in Akita
Prefecture April 21. It is the first report of the H5N1 virus in
Japan since March 2007 when the virus was found in a wild eagle in
Kumamto Prefecture in Kyushu. A dead swan found April 24 in
northeastern Hokkaido has tested preliminarily positive for avian
influenza, according to May 1 press reports. Hokkaido University is
conducting tests to determine whether the virus is also the
highly-pathogenic H5N1 strain.

3. The H5N1 avian influenza has previously appeared mainly in
western Japan, where migrant birds are believed to have brought the
virus from the Korean peninsula. However, according to press
reports citing statements by Dr. Koichi Ohtsuki, Director of the AI
Research Center at Kyoto Sangyo University, the recent cases in
northern Japan may have been the results of infection by other
waterfowl that migrate via the northern route to and from Russia and
northeast China.

Imports of Danish Poultry Suspended
-----------------------------------
4. On April 30, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries
(MAFF) announced suspension of imports of Danish poultry and eggs
after Denmark reported to the OIE a case of non-highly-pathogenic
H7N1 avian influenza. MAFF is currently requesting detailed
information on the case from the Danish Government. According to
MAFF, Japan imported 20 tons of poultry meat and 515 tons of eggs in
2007 from Denmark.

GOJ Revises Laws on Infectious Diseases and Quarantine
--------------------------------------------- ---------
5. On April 25, the Diet passed a bill to revise both the
Infectious Disease Law and Quarantine Law to be able to respond more
effectively to a potential pandemic influenza outbreak. This is the
first time the GOJ has included provisions fro activities on an
infectious disease that has not yet emerged. The current Infectious
Disease Law divides diseases into five categories. The new law
creates a new category specifically for pandemic influenza. In this
new category, pandemic influenza is likely to be treated as one of
the most serious Category I infectious diseases, i.e. Ebola,
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, smallpox, South American
hemorrhagic fever, plague, Marburg disease, and Lassa fever.

6. In 2006, the GOJ designated H5N1 AI as a "government-decreed"
infectious disease for a period of two years. When this designation
expires in June 2008, the new law will assign H5N1 AI to Category
II, which includes acute anterior poliomyelitis, tuberculosis,
diphtheria, and SARS.

7. The new law requires the government to report a pandemic
influenza outbreak in Japan to the public through newspapers,
television, and the Internet. The legislation gives the GOJ legal
grounds to take prompt action, including measures at the border, in
response to pandemic influenza. Prefectural governors will be
authorized to force individuals who are infected, or suspected to be
infected with pandemic influenza to remain at home or at other
facilities. In an emergency, quarantine authorities will be
authorized to designate sites other than hospitals and clinics, e.g.

TOKYO 00001214 002.2 OF 002


hotels, as quarantine facilities.

8. An additional clause of the new law encourages the GOJ to
promote R&D for pharmaceutical interventions for pandemic influenza,
such as vaccines, and to promote approval for the manufacturing and
sales of the products. The new law also encourages the GOJ to
stockpile necessary amounts of antiviral drugs and prepandemic
vaccine.

DONOVAN

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