Japan Suspends Imports Of British Poultry Due To Bird Flu

TOKYO (AFP)--Japan said Wednesday it was suspending imports of poultry from Britain after a bird flu outbreak on a farm there.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said in a statement that the suspension was expected to be a temporary measure aimed at reducing the risk of fresh bird flu outbreaks in Japan.

The move came a day after the British authorities confirmed that avian influenza had been discovered in chickens in southern England, although it was not the virulent H5N1 strain that sometimes claims human lives.

Preliminary tests were positive for the H7 strain, which poses a low risk to humans, the British Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said in a statement posted on its Web site.

All birds on the premises where the virus was detected will be slaughtered, it added.

It is not the first time Japan has suspended imports of British poultry due to concerns about bird flu. The last time was in November. That suspension was only lifted last month.