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Hatoyama Cabinet E-mail Magazine No. 31 (May 21, 2010)

Yukio Hatoyama's "Yu-Ai" -- Message from the Prime Minister
(provisional translation of the Japanese version of the Hatoyama Cabinet E-mail Magazine, which is delivered on Thursdays)

Prime Minister HatoyamaProfile Japanese

"Making all-out efforts for measures against foot-and-mouth disease"

The outbreak in Miyazaki Prefecture of foot-and-mouth disease, an infectious disease which affects livestock, presents a grave challenge for Japan's risk management. In order to prevent the spread of the disease, a decision has already been taken to slaughter more than 125,000 cattle and pigs. A huge social and economic impact is being felt in the region.

The government established a headquarters within the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries immediately after the outbreak on April 20. The headquarters dispatched a total of more than 4,100 people including veterinarians to the outbreak site to handle the situation, and at the same time took measures to support farmers. From the beginning of May, on the request of Governor Hideo Higashikokubaru of Miyazaki Prefecture, a total of more than 2,500 members of the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) have been taking part in disease control efforts.

However, the disease has spread. We are taking this fact very seriously, and have renewed our resolve not to let the disease spread further.

On May 17, we established the Headquarters against Foot-and-Mouth Disease, chaired by me and participated in by all Cabinet Members, in order to take stronger measures and to bring the efforts of the whole government together in tackling the issue.

Moreover, we established a local headquarters chaired by Senior Vice-Minister Masahiko Yamada of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Senior Vice-Minister Yamada, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister Katsuya Ogawa, and persons in charge at relevant ministries have been stationed on site to thoroughly handle the requests of the local community and other matters, and swiftly and accurately coordinate communication with the central government.

In Miyazaki Prefecture, a state of emergency was declared on May 18 in order to stop the spread of the disease and eradicate the disease at an early stage.

The government held the second meeting of the Headquarters against Foot-and-Mouth Disease Wednesday at short notice, and decided to expeditiously implement measures including vaccination for all cattle and pigs within a 10-kilometer radius of the outbreak site, which are to be slaughtered, enhancement of measures to aid farmers, additional installation of disinfection points, swift issuance of subsidies for slaughtering livestock, and increased dispatch of veterinarians, police officers, and SDF members.

Additionally, we will extend appropriate financial assistance to the local government to enable it to implement thorough measures.

Local government staff and the farmers involved have been working day and night to combat the disease. I would like to express my heartfelt respect for their efforts as well as my gratitude to the SDF members and police officers for their around-the-clock efforts to stop the spread of the disease together with the local community. It is most important that the nation, prefecture, and municipalities unite and make concerted all-out efforts for these measures. The understanding of the livestock farmers is also essential. It goes without saying, of course, that the government will be making the utmost efforts.

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General Editor: Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama
Chief Editor: Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yorihisa Matsuno
Publication: Cabinet Public Relations Office
1-6-1 Nagata-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8968, Japan

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