Here’s the article Hannah sent me a link to. Pretty crazy…

TOKYO – The government announced today the official lifting of restrictions for travel and imports from foreign countries, ending a months-long matter of national security and safety. The halting of foreign trade was in response to a limited outbreak of Mad Cow Disease found in foreign beef samples though no mention has been made of the source of the beef. The disease was found to have quickly spread via improper procedures during screening and testing, a report from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF) cited, which lead to human infection in a small portion of the population that was exposed to the beef.

The first flights from abroad landed at Narita and Kansai International Airports late yesterday evening, bringing in a number of medical professionals as well as representatives from abroad to aid in the investigation of how the disease went uncaught at the source prior to import. Cargo vessels from abroad also made landfall early this morning, bringing in regular shipments of imported goods for the first time since the emergency halt was ordered. A spokesman from the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) was on-hand at the unloading of the first container to deliver a statement prepared by the government hailing the success of the ban in halting the spread of illness both to and from Japan. The spokesman also thanked our friends and trading partners abroad for their understanding during the difficult time, praising the United States in particular for negotiating with the Chinese government.

False news reports from previous months made their way through email and social media recently claiming that US and Chinese forces had clashed near Japanese territorial waters near the Senkaku Islands. Thought to have been a tasteless prank perpetrated by foreign intelligence agencies to undermine the national effort to halt the spread of the illness and destabilize the political situation, numerous foreign news outlets reported the stories without regard to the source of the news. Once it was discovered that the report was entirely fabricated, most news services immediately retracted the story and issued apologies to both their readers and to the respective governments of the three involved parties. Both the American and Chinese governments both denied any sort of conflict and reassured the population that they would be taking a much firmer stance on holding news and media outlets accountable for publishing falsehoods.

With the lifting of the ban now complete, the government also issued a statement to all Japanese citizens who returned to their hometowns or to the countryside rather than stay in the cities, urging them to return back to work and to their homes as soon as they were able. It’s confirmed that during the import ban, food shortages in a number of dense, urban areas were reported. This prompted a sizeable percentage of urban residents to temporarily abandon the cities to put relief on distribution. A METI spokesperson assured the people that it was now “safer than ever” to return homes, adding that he was able to get a seat on the Yamanote Line yesterday afternoon, which had “never happened before.”

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