LDP plans no-confidence motion against Akamatsu

Kyodo News

The Liberal Democratic Party is preparing to submit a no-confidence motion against farm minister Hirotaka Akamatsu over the government’s handling of the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Miyazaki Prefecture, LDP officials said Thursday.

The LDP also plans to submit a censure motion against Akamatsu to the Upper House if the no-confidence motion, which is expected to be presented to the Lower House early next week, is rejected, they said.

Yasukazu Hamada, a senior member of the LDP Diet affairs committee, criticized the government for being “very slow” in setting up a task force to prevent the spread of the disease after a suspected case was reported a month ago, the first incidence in Japan since 2000.

“The situation in Miyazaki Prefecture is painful and the government has not taken the initiative in implementing countermeasures,” Hamada said, while criticizing Akamatsu for traveling abroad after the outbreak of the disease.

The disease has spread in the prefecture, inflicting significant damage on livestock farmers.

On Wednesday, the government led by the Democratic Party of Japan said it will slaughter all cows and pigs within a 10-km radius of infected areas.

The decision set the stage for around 205,000 cows and pigs to be vaccinated before being slaughtered, bringing the total number of animals to be disposed of to 323,000, the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said.

In Miyazaki, vice farm minister Masahiko Yamada said it would be difficult to commence vaccinations by the end of Thursday.

The prefectural government said vaccines for roughly 100,000 animals have not yet arrived and it could take at least three to four days to complete the shots for all 205,000 animals.