• The Associated Press

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Japan’s plan for any future influenza pandemic calls for shutting down airports, closing schools and organizing mass cremations of the dead in hopes of keeping the virus off its shores or at least containing it.

The government plan estimates that a new human flu virus could infect a quarter of the population and force 40 percent of the workforce to stay home. It could cause as many as 640,000 deaths in Japan if it were to spread across the country, the health ministry said Thursday.

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