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 I wanted to think it was an April fool's joke. The government is utterly incapable of analyzing and handling critical information precisely when people are calling for the need for crisis management. 
Yoshihiko Noda, a member of the opposition Democratic Party of Japan, criticizing the government's flip-flopping on the report that North Korea launched a missile on Tuesday. (Kyodo)
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Editorial comments:

14 Japanese thought to have contracted SARS

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TOKYO The Japanese government urged its nationals Thursday to postpone nonessential trips to Hong Kong and China's Guangdong Province, where a new type of deadly pneumonia is rapidly spreading, as it found out 14 Japanese are suspected of having the disease.

Eleven of the people have shown symptoms of SARS, such as high fever and shortness of breath, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasuo Fukuda told a news conference.

They have traveled to SARS-hit regions in the past 10 days or have been exposed to the disease by way of contact with SARS patients. The three others have also met those criteria and were medically confirmed to have shown symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory ailments.

The government also tightened quarantine inspections to prevent the infectious disease, called severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), from spreading in Japan.

The Foreign Ministry issued the travel warning Thursday afternoon, urging Japanese to postpone nonessential visits to the two regions, the first of its kind in relation to the infectious disease, in line with a similar move taken by the World Health Organization (WHO).

A Foreign Ministry official said safety reasons, over economic and political considerations, were given priority in deciding to issue the travel warning.

Analysts say such a warning will be an additional blow to the Japanese travel industry, which has been hurt by the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Meanwhile, Fukuda said the government will ask airline companies to distribute interview sheets on the disease aboard planes bound for Japan from Hong Kong and Guangdong Province.

He also said quarantine inspections at airports, including local ones, will be tightened.

Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare urged local authorities to raise awareness about SARS, and asked other ministries to cooperate in strengthening measures to prevent it from hitting Japan, ministry officials said.

The WHO issued an unprecedented regional travel warning Wednesday recommending people "consider postponing nonessential travel" to Hong Kong and Guangdong Province.

The illness, which is believed to have originated in Guangdong Province in mid-November, has killed at least 46 people and infected 1,190 in mainland China, the WHO says. The number of infections in Hong Kong reached 708, with 16 deaths. Worldwide, the disease had killed 78 people and infected 2,223 between Nov 1 and Wednesday.

The health ministry posted a Japanese translation of the WHO warning on its web site, and said it would like Japanese to postpone travel to the two regions if possible.

Health ministry officials said they are maintaining an extensive network to track and investigate infection trends, such as asking doctors to report any patients with fevers of 38 C or above after returning from affected regions. (Kyodo News)

Japan Today Discussion

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31 Total Messages (Click here to show all)
15 Messages Shown (Scroll down for most recent)

14 Japanese thought to have contracted SARS
legacyb4 Click here to see all messages by legacyb4 (Apr 3 2003 - 17:44)

Let's see.

We've had in the past:

- foreign beef is bad because Japanese intenstines are shorter (or was it longer?) than foreigners

- mad cow disease won't affect us because we are already too stupid to be affected ;-)

I'm just waiting for some old government codger to make the remark to the media that Japanese lungs are protected by all the tar from Japan Tobacco products and that the virus won't be catching...

staninjapan Click here to see all messages by staninjapan (Apr 3 2003 - 17:52)

Please take a long breath and calm down. Ito-san is not Japanese, but someone who every now and again thinks it hilarious to write some nonsensical garbage in Japlish and see who takes the bait. Save your anger for the real idiot Japanese posters.

Re: Natalie-san
Natalia Click here to see all messages by Natalia (Apr 3 2003 - 18:01)

staninjapan (Apr 3 2003 - 17:52)

Please take a long breath and calm down. Ito-san is not Japanese, but someone who every now and again thinks it hilarious to write some nonsensical garbage in Japlish and see who takes the bait. Save your anger for the real idiot Japanese posters

Thanks for the comment. I had no clue as I don't view this board very often. "Ito-san" is lucky to have all the time on his hands and making fools of Japanese people.

Have a nice day!

Natalia in Hokkaido

You Can't Handle The Truth!
Roger Moore Click here to see all messages by Roger Moore (Apr 3 2003 - 18:01)

Here's an interesting thing: I signed up for the JT newsletter, and this afternoon's headline was

"14 Japanese thought to have contracted SARS"

Click on the link, and this is where it takes me.

Hmmmm...kinda makes you think now, don't it?

Why is there no coverage of the inexorable approach of the plague that's going to kick seven bells out of this city in the next few weeks?

Moderator? Moderator? I'm talking to you.

Roger Moore Click here to see all messages by Roger Moore (Apr 3 2003 - 18:06)

It's been updated! It was a duff link, I promise!

JT Moderator: That story was updated probably about the same time you were clicking on it.

It's actually hard to pretend
Noripinhead Click here to see all messages by Noripinhead (Apr 3 2003 - 18:12)

to not be fluent in your native tongue. Ito-san's "mistakes" aren't the kind made by most Japanese learners of English. The consistent grammar and syntax is a sure tip off. It's funny to hear Japanese actors pretending to be "gaijin" on TV--the grammar is perfect; only the intonation is "foreign."

tlotoxl Click here to see all messages by tlotoxl (Apr 3 2003 - 18:31)

boku wa doku. doku.... wa.... yuki... ga... suki.....desu.

agreed. silly smapster.

Roger Moore
sausage Click here to see all messages by sausage (Apr 3 2003 - 19:12)

You are a tit for signing up for JTs form of SPAM. You will now have it every day until you die. You would have been better off signing up for SARS at least they might find a cure for it.(to be taken as a pinch of salt)And yes I've had my sausage burned also.

Meaulnes Click here to see all messages by Meaulnes (Apr 3 2003 - 19:45)

Only joking.

Anyway, about this SARS thing, I'm quite worried because I am going to Japan next month. If it turns out to affect Japan badly in the next few weeks, I will probably turn up with a gas mask and big rubber gloves on. Of course I will wear other things too, because it would look quite scary if I turned up at the airport naked apart from a gas mask and some rubber gloves.

It is very worrying, and I will be checking JT very closely for news.

Meaulnes Click here to see all messages by Meaulnes (Apr 3 2003 - 19:50)

Ito-sans posts are so obviously a pastiche of Japanese attitudes that annoy foreigners, such as the "uniqueness" claim and the pride Japanese people take in their "healthy" lifestyles. Sometimes the posts are quite funny and accurate, but sometimes they border on racism. Keep it clean, Ito-san.

SARS "Smoking gun" ??
dg1000 Click here to see all messages by dg1000 (Apr 3 2003 - 20:27)

They should have waited a 12 years until a UN health inspection unit verifies that it is beyond a doubt SARS. By that time, they will have all been dead, but at least they wouldn't have jumped the gun and "pre-empted" anything. After all, there's no ""smoking gun" that its SARS. Gotta wait for that somking gun, even if it costs lives.

SARS Concern In Hong Kong
kitzrow Click here to see all messages by kitzrow (Apr 3 2003 - 20:52)

Was just in chat with a friend in Hong Kong and he gave me this interesting reading to take a look

Apparently this is by a medical group there ...

Go to:


tlotoxl Click here to see all messages by tlotoxl (Apr 3 2003 - 21:21)

yeah, that page does make for interesting reading. i think that one overlooked point, though, is that SARS has managed to continue to spread and cause deaths despite the authorities in HK and the general population doing just about everything they can to stop it. also, given that SARS has managed to kill some healthy people who were presumably careful (like the WHO doctor who discovered it), it's obviously of a greater concern to the young and otherwise healthy then regularly pneumonia.

Dr. Who & SARS 2
bird Click here to see all messages by bird (Apr 3 2003 - 23:44)

Meaulnes Be carefull on the trains when you arrive. A guijin woman wearing a mask (of all things) lifted the mask and SHOUT sneezed into her hands today on a packed train wiped her nose with her sleve and then again hung on the hang strap. SARS2. Some.Aliens.Real.Stupid. too

bird Click here to see all messages by bird (Apr 4 2003 - 00:02)

(ps) Shouting. And. Rapid. Sneezers. are the worst in the morning especially when you have a hangover.

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