City in Tokyo approves imports of Ebola virus by research facility
Japan Times -- Jul 02
Musashimurayama Mayor Masaru Fujino informed health minister Takumi Nemoto on Monday of his approval of a plan to keep deadly viruses such as Ebola at a research facility in the city, which is located on the outskirts of Tokyo.

The viruses will be imported to the Murayama branch of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NIID), which can handle dangerous pathogens designated the highest biosafety level, or BSL, of 4 under the World Health Organization’s standards, as early as this summer.

The move will help strengthen Japan’s inspection system for diseases that have never spread within the country, in preparation for an expected increase in visitors from abroad ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games next summer.

At a meeting with Nemoto, Fujino made five requests, including the implementation of full safety measures, the proactive disclosure of information and future consideration for a relocation. The ministry will answer the requests in writing.

The pathogens to be imported to the facility are those related to Ebola, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, South American hemorrhagic fever, Marburg disease and Lassa fever.

All of the deadly viruses are ranked as the most dangerous under Japan’s infectious disease prevention law.

Under the law, the health minister is expected to grant the NIID approval for importing the pathogens within a few days.

To prepare for an outbreak of a dangerous disease, the NIID has adopted an inspection system involving artificially made pathogens of deadly diseases.

News source: Japan Times
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