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May 18, 2009

Opinions vary over whether schools should close because of swine flu

pig.jpegMore than 1,000 schools have closed in the Kansai area because of swine flu but Toru Hashimoto, the governor of Osaka, thinks the central government may be overreacting. He said “the measures we have taken have assumed a high virulence akin to avian flu, but the swine flu virus appears to be less virulent.......At some point, we must shift our line of action to something appropriate for seasonal influenza.”

According to the Mainichi Shimbun, Mitsuyoshi Urashima, associate professor of pediatrics at Jikei University, has said: 'If no countermeasures are taken, then we will see the number of (swine flu) patients rise dramatically,.....Closing schools and quarantining patients are effective means of preventing the spread of the flu.'

However, Kuniaki Nerome, virologist and director of the Institute of Biological Resources has said: "With the number of swine flu patients as it is, closing schools is too much.......Such an overreaction will just spread anxiety throughout society, and will be a negative influence on the economy.'

Language school owners are also very concerned. Many are already suffering from the negative impact of the recession, and the swine flu scare could cripple some schools. Unlike high schools, language schools' income may drop dramatically if they need to close their schools or if students stop attending class out of fear of becoming infected by other students.

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