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New Japanese minister determined to eradicate swine fever

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | September 14, 2019
Newly appointed Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Taku Eto in Japan has expressed his determination to take decisive action on measures for ending the spread of swine fever.
Minister Taku Eto
Asia   Minister Taku Eto
“We practically only have nine months until we are stripped of our status as a swine fever-free country” under the rules of the World Organization for Animal Health, or OIE, Eto said during an interview Thursday. “The severity of the issue is increasing, and we don’t have time.”

Topics: Japan swine fever

Eto also criticized ongoing import curbs introduced by countries such as China and South Korea after the March 2011 triple meltdowns at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

“Food safety should be ensured on the basis of scientific facts, and Japan has one of the strictest safety standards when it comes to radioactive materials,” the minister said. “South Korea reportedly expressed worries over Fukushima food products at a meeting about the Tokyo Olympics, but I found that to be wrong.”

Swine fever was confirmed on Sept. 9, 2018, in Gifu Prefecture. The disease has spread to pig farms to six other prefectures in central and western Japan.

“We may decide to vaccinate pigs, or we may decide not to vaccinate and to be more thorough in sanitation management,” Eto said. “We will probably be criticized for whichever decision we make, but I will accept that.”