Having been entirely too happy and carefree lately, I’ve compiled a list of things I could be worrying about in Tokyo:
Food safety, specifically avian flu
TAMBA, Japan (AP) - Men in white protective suits, masks and hoods moved along the hillside above a chicken farm, spraying disinfectant and throwing lime into a huge ditch filled with thousands of dead birds.
This mountain-ringed town in western Japan is the epicenter in the country’s mounting struggle with avian flu, which has compounded worries about the food supply and provoked a scare over the possible spread of the disease to humans.
Those fears have expanded in recent days with the discovery of five wild crows infected with the virus - raising the threat that the freely roaming birds could trigger an uncontrollable spread of the disease.
“That’s really worrying,” Kaoru Iwamoto, a 55-year-old housewife, said just a few blocks away from a farm being disinfected. “You can control where the chickens go, but crows fly all over the place.”
The avian flu hit Japan in January for the first time since the mid-1920s. It has infected chickens at three farms and led to the deaths or extermination of more than 300,000 birds.
So far, Japan has been lucky with no cases of human transmission. The disease has spread to people in Thailand and Vietnam, killing 22 and prompting the cull of about 100 million chickens across Asia.
Terror attacks in Tokyo by al Qaeda or Iraqi operatives
TOKYO (AP) — Japan added police at railway stations in Tokyo and vowed to stand firm on Iraq after an Islamic militant group reportedly said Japan could be targeted by terrorists.
Japan’s conservative government, a firm supporter of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, has insisted the deadly bombings that killed 202 people in Madrid last week would not change its backing for Washington.
A London-based Arabic newspaper on Thursday published a message attributed to the Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri warning that its next targets could be Japan, Italy, Britain or Australia. The group has claimed responsibility for the Madrid bombings.
Being anonymously reported as a suspicious foreigner
TOKYO — The Justice Ministry on Thursday decided to review its controversial online service that allows people to anonymously submit information via email about suspected illegal aliens to a web site run by the Immigration Bureau after drawing fire from groups supporting foreign nationals living in Japan.
The service, which began Feb 16, allows people to submit information on the identity, address or workplace of suspected illegal aliens. Critics say the service constitutes racial discrimination but the Justice Ministry says it has reminded users that it will not tolerate any attempts to slander foreigners. (Kyodo News)
That long-overdue, city-flattening earthquake
This threat hangs over all our heads, all the time. The city is 10 years overdue on its “70 year cycle” of major quakes. And as far as I’ve noticed, we haven’t even had a moderate one in months.
I tried to come up with a list of ten things to worry about, but I could only think of four. I think that’s cause to celebrate…Posted by kuri at March 21, 2004 11:36 PM