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Japan PM Admits Fault in Handling FMD

19 May 2010

JAPAN - Japan's prime minister, Yukio Hatoyama, has admitted that mistakes have been made in the government's efforts to contain the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, which is crippling farmers in a southern prefecture known for its prized beef.

The disease was detected in Miyazaki, southern Japan, on April 20. Since then, authorities have killed 55,000 pigs and 5,000 cows. Officials in Miyazaki said an additional 50,000 pigs and 4,000 cows are to be killed this week.

The government has said that all livestock within a 10km radius of an oputbreak will be slaughtered.

However, the government has been criticised for being too slow to respond to the outbreak, Japan's first since 2000. Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama acknowledged on Tuesday that Tokyo should have acted sooner to contain the spreading outbreak.

He said the government would do its utmost, including giving financial assistance to affected farmers.

The outbreak in Miyazaki has led to the suspension of all Japanese beef exports for at least three months.

The government is considering spending $1.1 billion to prevent the further spread of the disease and coordinate financial support for affected farmers.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has now published a defence plan which will see authorities will first vaccinate all livestock in the target areas, using a drug that is effective in cattle after about four days.

This is hoped to buy time as authorities move on to slaughter all herds within 10 kilometres (six miles) of Kawaminami city, site of the first outbreak, and of three other nearby disease-hit towns.

TheCattleSite News Desk



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