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Japan gov't promotes vaccinations ahead of Tokyo2020 Games

This file photo taken on Feb. 15, 2016 shows foreign visitors being monitored with thermographic cameras at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture, east of Tokyo. (Mainichi/Shin Yamamoto)

TOKYO -- The Japanese government on Aug. 1 launched a vaccination promotion plan ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, including multilingual notices for foreign visitors.

The plan requires national government employees scheduled to work at the games to get a combined vaccination against measles and rubella. It also recommends the vaccine to airport workers, who have contact with many foreign visitors, as well as staff working in the Olympic village and event venues.

Authorities are set to use thermography to monitor visitors' body temperatures at airport immigration control points, and ask people who have a fever to undergo a health check. It will furthermore screen visitors coming from countries in which tuberculosis is a major health issue, based on information from international institutions including the World Health Organization (WHO).

The government will also promote measures to prevent food poisoning in line with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), an international standard for food sanitation control.

The number of measles and rubella patients in Japan is trending upward. A U.S. governmental institution in autumn last year advised pregnant women who had not been vaccinated against rubella to avoid going to Japan. The Japanese health ministry is planning to strengthen measures against infectious diseases in collaboration with other ministries and agencies and related bodies.

At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the Zika virus spread around the venues just before the games opened, and some athletes canceled their trips to the event.

(Japanese original by Miaki Tsuburaya, Sports News Department)

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