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Japan’s Animal Quarantine Service to strengthen inspections of hand-luggage

March 18, 2019 Destination North Asia No Comments Email Email

Japan Animal Quarantine Service (Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture) is to strengthen its inspections to detect whether passengers are bringing meat or meat products in their carry-on luggage. It is rolling out a campaign widely featuring characters of the detector dogs on its website, posters and on video distribution sites, targeting Aprilin time for the increase in tourists especially from the ASEAN nations.

The new measures to strengthen inspections of meat products follow the outbreak last year of African Swine Fever, an infectious disease which has affected regions around the globe, including countries in Asia.

Japan Animal Quarantine Service has been issuing warnings against bringing meat products into Japan, but in the latest campaign, in addition to clearly stating the punishable nature of the offence, it spells out that violators are liable to up to three years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to one million Japanese Yen. The clear and harsh warnings are designed to have a powerful deterrent effect.

In its figures for 2017, the Service reported a cumulative 94,522 cases of travelers carrying goods in their luggage that were not approved for import, representing 119,113kg. The Service uses detector dogs, which are very effective in detecting meat products. There are 33 detector dogs in service at the country’s airports and post offices, and they have been used as a priority on flights from Asia since the outbreak of African Swine Fever in the area. The Service‘s homepage has announced that it detected the gene of the African Swine Fever disease in pork products carried in some passengers’ hand luggage.

South Korea and Taiwan also punish the improper import of meat products. Japan’s efforts continue to prevent violations from occurring beforehand.

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