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Japan’s Panicked Reactions to Swine Flu

May 18, 2009

It’s been over a couple weeks since the first suspected case of Swine Flu appeared in Japan’s airport. Although internationally Japanese citizens have reacted swiftly to any threat of contamination, including flying employees home, evacuating to safer countries and sending out blast warning emails through embassy channels, domestically the fever of swine flu had not yet caught on. This past weekend the main newspapers were littered with headlines on reactions to the swine flu. The reported cases are both in Osaka and Hyogo prefecture. Government officials as high as the Prime Minister are making public commentary, while stories of schools closing and international conferences being cancelled are becoming common place.

Asahi “135 Reported Cases of Infection” Over half of the headlines on the Asahi this morning told of the penetration of Swine Flu into Japan and Japanese society. The headliner read “135 reported cases, not just young and old people but bankers, shop keepers…” As in New York City however, Japan’s also finding that the majority of cases are being reported from Junior and High schools both within Osaka and Hyogo prefecture. Students with infected classmates are finding their schools being shutdown. The Asahi tells of the banker, who was just “going about their daily job” when a reported older man came in to get money and possibly infected her. Or the convenience store worker, who had diligently been wearing a mask but still managed to contract the flu from one of his customers.

Nikkei “A National Policy Response is Necessary” While the Asahi reports about the already infected inhabitants and their schools and communities reactions, the Nikkei tells of how everyone else is preparing for the worst. The Health and Human Services minister released a statement that the government is looking into funding personal home care services to help prevent the flu from spreading in public hospitals. Schools across the country are holding emergency meetings to determine how and when to react to the flu if it comes to their community.

Yomiuri “The National Diet Meeting Needs Precautionary Measures” At a meeting of the Lower House of the Japanese government, the Yomiuri reported that all congressmen from Osaka and Hyogo prefectures were required to wear masks. Some congressmen they stated had reported “this was an unnecessary precaution.” The policy had stopped short of handing out medicine by hand to the representatives of those prefectures!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 19, 2009 2:34 am

    thank you for this

  2. May 31, 2009 10:55 pm

    Q: Are there things we can do to boost our immunity to swine flu and other infections?

    A: Eat a balanced diet, exercise and get plenty of sleep. It may sound simple but it is the best way to stay healthy.

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