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Schools in the Kansai region were shut down in three wards in Kobe and in the nearby city of Ashiya after a local high school student became the first of a spate of nine domestic cases of H1N1 swine flu.

The student, who has been hospitalized, is a 17-year-old male from prefecture-run Kobe High School who has never been overseas, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.

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