Tag Archives: Japan

A highly contagious African swine fever virus has been detected in the luggage of a traveler from Shanghai at Tokyo’s Haneda airport, the farm ministry said Friday.

Pork filled dumplings brought by the traveler on Oct. 14 have tested positive for the virus, becoming the second case of the virus being brought to Japan from overseas.

The disease was reported in China in August, while no domestic infections in Japan have been reported so far.

African swine fever is regarded as more lethal than conventional swine fever, also known as hog cholera, and there is no effective vaccine to protect pigs from the deadly disease.

According to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, the dumplings were homemade and uncooked. Both African and classical swine fevers pose no direct threat to human health.

In September, hog cholera infection was confirmed among domestic pigs in Japan for the first time in 26 years, in the central Japan city of Gifu.

It is unlikely that food infected with the African swine fever virus will cause an outbreak unless pigs are fed with infected food.

Japanese farmers expressed concern Wednesday about an expected influx of imports and other effects of a trans-Pacific free trade agreement led by Japan that is set to enter into force on Dec. 30.

Australia said earlier in the day it has become the sixth nation to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, fulfilling the requirements for the 11-member tariff-cutting framework to take effect.

Reaching the required number of states to have ratified the deal occurred “rather fast,” said 60-year-old Tatsumi Dejima, who runs a farm in the village of Sarabetsu in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island prefecture known for producing half of Japan’s raw milk.

“If cheap dairy products start coming in from overseas, consumers will probably choose the imports. I fear it would be too late if countermeasures are taken after we start to be affected,” he said.

Japan, the leading economy in the deal, is one of the five other countries to have ratified it, along with Mexico, Singapore, New Zealand and Canada.

The members yet to finish domestic procedures are Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam.

In the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima, which raises the largest number of pigs in Japan, Michio Ushidome, the head of an association of black-pig producers, expressed doubts about the touted benefits of the pact.

“Small farmers like us are unlikely to enjoy benefits from it,” he said, adding he hopes the rift between the pact’s signatories and the United States, which pulled out of the framework in 2017, would not grow to affect exports of Japanese farm products.

“We want (the government) to make sure it takes support measures if pig-farming businesses begin to feel the crunch,” Ushidome said.

Other farmers, including rice producer Mitsuo Ota in Daisen, Akita Prefecture, also worry about lower tariffs.

“It is something the government decided in consideration of the country’s trade overall. No matter how much we farmers oppose it, we have to follow the decision in the end,” said Ota.

Japan’s business sector, in contrast, welcomed the pact’s expected entry into force.

“It is an enormous achievement. We, as corporate managers, very much welcome the move,” said Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of Japan’s largest business lobby the Japan Business Federation, commonly known as Keidanren.

Nakanishi said that even though he can understand the reasons behind the United States’ withdrawal from the framework, Japan needs to promote free trade deals.

“People should understand each country has its own circumstances to consider,” Nakanishi said.

Japanese farmers expressed concern Wednesday about an expected influx of imports and other effects of a trans-Pacific free trade agreement led by Japan that is set to enter into force on Dec. 30.

Australia said earlier in the day it has become the sixth nation to ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, fulfilling the requirements for the 11-member tariff-cutting framework to take effect.

Reaching the required number of states to have ratified the deal occurred “rather fast,” said 60-year-old Tatsumi Dejima, who runs a farm in the village of Sarabetsu in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island prefecture known for producing half of Japan’s raw milk.

“If cheap dairy products start coming in from overseas, consumers will probably choose the imports. I fear it would be too late if countermeasures are taken after we start to be affected,” he said.

Japan, the leading economy in the deal, is one of the five other countries to have ratified it, along with Mexico, Singapore, New Zealand and Canada.

The members yet to finish domestic procedures are Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Vietnam.

In the southwestern prefecture of Kagoshima, which raises the largest number of pigs in Japan, Michio Ushidome, the head of an association of black-pig producers, expressed doubts about the touted benefits of the pact.

“Small farmers like us are unlikely to enjoy benefits from it,” he said, adding he hopes the rift between the pact’s signatories and the United States, which pulled out of the framework in 2017, would not grow to affect exports of Japanese farm products.

“We want (the government) to make sure it takes support measures if pig-farming businesses begin to feel the crunch,” Ushidome said.

Other farmers, including rice producer Mitsuo Ota in Daisen, Akita Prefecture, also worry about lower tariffs.

“It is something the government decided in consideration of the country’s trade overall. No matter how much we farmers oppose it, we have to follow the decision in the end,” said Ota.

Japan’s business sector, in contrast, welcomed the pact’s expected entry into force.

“It is an enormous achievement. We, as corporate managers, very much welcome the move,” said Hiroaki Nakanishi, chairman of Japan’s largest business lobby the Japan Business Federation, commonly known as Keidanren.

Nakanishi said that even though he can understand the reasons behind the United States’ withdrawal from the framework, Japan needs to promote free trade deals.

“People should understand each country has its own circumstances to consider,” Nakanishi said.

Highly contagious African swine fever virus has been detected in the luggage of a traveler from China at a Hokkaido airport, Japan’s farm ministry said Monday.

Sausages in the passenger’s luggage at New Chitose Airport tested positive for the disease, and it is the first case of the virus being brought to the country from overseas. No domestic case of infections with African swine fever virus has been reported thus far.

African swine fever is regarded as more lethal than conventional swine fever, also known as hog cholera, and there is no effective vaccine to protect swine from the deadly pig disease.

The rapid onset of the disease was reported in China earlier this year, and authorities were anxious about the risk of the infectious disease spreading to other Asian countries including Japan.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has called for regional collaboration including stronger monitoring and preparedness measures.

According to the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry, the passenger arriving on Oct. 1 from Beijing was found to have about 1.5 kilograms of sausages which are prohibited from being brought into the country.

The passenger was asked to abandon the sausages and they tested positive in the state’s genetic test conducted later.

It is unclear whether the heat-processed, vacuum-packed sausages contained any pork produced in China, the ministry said.

China is a major pig producer and accounts for about half the global population of swine, according to FAO.

It is unlikely that food infected with African swine fever virus will cause an outbreak in Japan unless pigs in the country are fed with infected food.

Both African and classical swine fevers pose no direct threat to human health as they are diseases of domesticated pigs and wild boars, but infections can be devastating to the farm industry.

Last month, hog cholera infection was confirmed among domestic pigs in Japan for the first time in 26 years, in the central Japan city of Gifu.