February 26, 2020
Japan to boost measures against African swine fever
A new reform bill was approved by the Japanese cabinet to increase countermeasures at ports of entry to halt the spread of African swine fever (ASF) in the country, reported The Japan Times.
The new measures to be introduced include additional fines for the illegal import of meat products, and increased authority for inspectors to check tourists' luggage in an effort to stop livestock infection.
The new bill is said to be enacted by April, ahead of an expected flow of tourists visiting for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Japan is currently managing classical swine fever outbreaks in parts of the country, but an ASF outbreak will cause a higher fatality rate.
The new reform bill is the country's second step in battling livestock disease, following an earlier revision to permit culling of healthy swine in areas where ASF is discovered.
Individuals caught importing meat products that have not gone through inspections will be fined up to 3 million JPY (~US$27,000; 100 JPY = US$0.91) and imprisoned for up to three years under the new bill. The fine is triple the current fine imposed.
Companies will be fined 50 million JPY (~US$452 million) if caught under the revised law.
Officials said airport and port inspectors will be permitted to search through luggage forcibly and dispose of any meat products if required.