Hooded crane in Kagoshima confirmed as infected with avian flu
A hooded crane found in Japan's largest crane wintering place in Izumi Plains, Kagoshima Prefecture, was confirmed Tuesday as having been infected with an H5N1 strain of highly infectious avian influenza, the Environment Ministry said. But the ministry said it is unclear whether the strain is highly lethal. The dead bird was being tested at Tottori University in Tottori Prefecture after it tested positive in a preliminary test.

The birds were found in the Izumi-Takaono National Wildlife Protection Area. The plains and the cranes that fly into the area are designated "special natural treasures" by the government for protection purposes. Two cranes that have tested negative in a preliminary test will also be scrutinized at the university and a government institute.

(AP, Dec 22)

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An employee of the Foreign Ministry jumped to his death from the 8th floor at the ministry, police said Thursday. (Japan Today)

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Japanese commercial music juggernaut AKB48 has added a 37-year-old mother of two to the wildly popular all-girl group as it looks to broaden the appeal of its teen-dominated line-up. (AFP)

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Japan's Emperor and Empress have hosted more than 2,000 guests at their Spring Imperial Garden Party. (NHK)

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Police in Tokyo said Wednesday they have arrested an unemployed 24-year-old man for robbing a convenience store in Shibuya. (Japan Today)

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