Japan's farm minister says his ministry plans to proceed with plans to vaccinate pigs to prevent the spread of swine fever and will take necessary measures to start the process.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Taku Eto spoke to reporters on Friday after a meeting of farm ministry officials to discuss measures against the outbreak.
Eto said they will quickly create an environment to allow vaccinations and start procedures on revising vaccination guidelines.
He said they want to carry out vaccinations as soon as possible but are cautious of being criticized for not taking enough time to listen to public opinion.
The governor of each prefecture will be able to give permission for conducting vaccination as a preventive measure against swine fever once the necessary procedures are completed by the government.
There are currently enough vaccines for about one million pigs in Japan. Eto said they have asked pharmaceutical companies to produce more vaccines to prevent a shortage.
He said two companies are currently capable of production and expect to take about two-and-a-half months to expand it.
Swine fever was detected in pig farms in Saitama Prefecture last week. There is growing concern over the spread of the fever since a large number of pigs are raised in the Kanto region.
The ministry was previously reluctant about vaccinations because of their possible impact on distribution and exports. It apparently changed its policy to control the spread of the disease.