President’s Party Grabs Early Lead in Indonesian Votehttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/10/world/asia/10indo.html?_r=1
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By NORIMITSU ONISHI
Published: April 9, 2009
JAKARTA, Indonesia ― Tens of millions of Indonesians went to the polls on Thursday to choose a new Parliament as early and unofficial tallies indicated a victory for President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s Democratic Party ahead of the more important presidential election in July.（以下略）
Spread of Swine Flu Puts Japan in Crisis Modehttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/22/world/asia/22japan.html
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By HIROKO TABUCHI
Published: May 21, 2009
KOBE, Japan ― It all began at a high school volleyball tournament here on May 2 ― or so residents of this Japanese port city suspect.
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Soon, volleyball players who took part in the event were coming down with swine flu, early cases in a wider outbreak that has made Japan the worst-hit country outside North America in the global epidemic.
On Thursday, confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu virus in Japan reached 279, centering on Kobe and the neighboring city of Osaka, in western Japan. Like many other countries, Japan has reported mild flu cases and no deaths. Still, it is in crisis mode: more than 4,800 schools have been closed in the region, medical services are swamped, and testing laboratories are working around the clock.
Japan’s fears hit a new high when the area around Tokyo confirmed its first swine flu cases late Wednesday, in two high school students who returned Tuesday from a trip to New York.
The outbreak has come as a particular shock for hygiene-obsessed Japan, where hand-washing is religiously taught in schools, children play in sanitized sandboxes, and everything from underwear to ballpoint pens comes with supposed antibacterial properties.
Even before swine flu emerged, sick Japanese donned surgical masks to avoid infecting others. The country is one of the world’s largest stockpilers of the antiviral drug Tamiflu.
Japan is also known for its paranoia of foreign diseases. When a Taiwanese doctor with severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, traveled to Japan in 2003, the government retraced his every move, testing thousands of people with whom he might have had contact. No other SARS cases were found.
Until last week, it seemed Japan would escape swine flu similarly unscathed. Over the past several weeks, health inspectors have used devices that sense body temperatures on all flights arriving from North America.
But in a sequence of events that experts are now piecing together, the flu virus appears to have slipped through those stringent checks. Then on May 2, a flu carrier is thought to have attended a high school volleyball tournament in Kobe.
Soon afterward, swine flu was diagnosed in a Kobe High School athlete. Thirteen other volleyball players from high schools in the city also tested positive.
“We had a situation where lots of kids were gathered in an enclosed auditorium,” said Chika Shirai, who leads the infection control and prevention unit in the city of Kobe. “We suspect conditions were perfect for the virus to spread.” The long commutes on crowded trains so common here could have played a role in widening the outbreak, she added.
By Monday, the flu had spread to a wider group of teenagers, and was also infecting older Japanese. All schools in the city were ordered closed, and students were told not to leave their homes. People formed lines at supermarkets to stock up on provisions, and masks sold out at pharmacies across Kobe.
Yoko Yo, a mother of two in Kobe, said she was staying inside with her family. “I’m very afraid,” she said by telephone. “Neither me nor my kids have stepped out of the house since Saturday. We’ve bought enough food to survive for a week.”
Some have criticized Kobe’s response. The city was unprepared for the surge in people who suspected that they had contracted the flu, said Hiromasa Tashiro, who leads the Kobe Medical Association.
On Saturday, more than 1,000 people rushed to Kobe’s main public hospital, overwhelming the staff. The city on Wednesday asked private doctors to help provide diagnoses for potential flu victims at their clinics.
Still, Mr. Tashiro warned that it was inevitable that the flu would spread throughout the country. That has probably happened already, though the light symptoms shown by most patients make cases hard to track, he said.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Taro Aso walked the fine line between keeping up the country’s guard and calling for calm. “The virus could still suddenly mutate,” he told reporters. “We need to be prepared for different possibilities. But if our measures are too extreme, that could also cause problems.”
Some experts wondered whether the reason Japan appeared to have a relatively large number of swine flu cases was that it was checking for the disease more aggressively than other countries.
“I suspect other countries have just as many, if not more, cases,” said Hiroshi Suzuki, an expert on infectious disease control at Niigata University and a former World Health Organization adviser. “It’s just they haven’t been as vigorous as Japan in testing for the virus.”
Doctors have not been the only ones critical of the government response. “The situation is completely overblown,” said Naomitsu Yamamoto, a spokesman for the Kobe Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The government should heed recent findings that the new flu is not any more severe than seasonal flu, he said. Tourism in Kobe has plunged since the flu scare began, Mr. Yamamoto said.
Teppei Izaki, 18, a high school senior, said he had just finished a two-hour karaoke session with friends. “I’m not afraid of the flu at all,” he said at a video game arcade in Kobe. “Personally, I think everybody is too paranoid.”
Makiko Inoue and Yasuko Kamiizumi contributed reporting from Tokyo.
元記事はこちら（Despair Overwhelms a Former Leader
Article Tools Sponsored By CHOE SANG-HUN Published: May 23, 2009 ）