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)
Dozens of hunters fired blank shots to drive sacred horses up to a shrine in an annual gun festival in Saitama Prefecture, near Tokyo. (NHK)
Singaporean chef Li Kwok Wing has trumped nine other chefs from around the world to clinch the gold medal in the finals of the inaugural Washoku World Challenge held in Tokyo on Sunday. (Straits Times)
In a written statement issued for her 50th birthday Monday, Crown Princess Masako pledged to continue efforts to overcome a stress-induced illness that she has been dealing with for 10 years. (Kyodo)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Monday announced the bust of a prostitution club featuring Chinese women in Arakawa Ward. (Tokyo Reporter)
Tokyo Metropolitan Police in November announced the bust of a studio for allowing photography of school girls in seductive poses. According to Shukan Jitsuwa (Dec. 19), the trade in illicit private photography is varied, with office ladies among those in the biz. (Tokyo Reporter)