They may want votes, but some Japanese election candidates have been cutting back on handshakes on the campaign trail as the new flu virus reaches epidemic proportions in Japan.

The country has confirmed three deaths from the H1N1 influenza virus, and the health minister said Wednesday a rise in cases meant the new flu had spread more than expected this summer.

With little more than a week to go until the August 30 election that his opposition Democratic Party looks likely to win, candidate Denny Tamaki is playing it safe.

"Shaking hands during an election campaign is key, so this is pretty troubling," Tamaki told the reporters.

日本参选议员免握手防流感

"It would be bad if I get infected myself and then pass it on to older people with weaker immune systems," said Tamaki, whose home island of Okinawa has been hit hard by the flu.

Fellow Democratic Party candidate Katsuhito Yokokume, locked in a tough fight against popular ex-premier Junichiro Koizumi's son, took a break from campaigning a few days ago after showing flu symptoms, media reported.

When he resumed, he made a rather unusual campaign pledge.

"We'll make sure not to give speeches so close that the audience might get hit with spittle," Yomiuri quoted one of his campaigners as saying.

Makiko Fujino, a ruling party candidate in the city of Nagoya, where an 81-year-old woman died from the new flu, brought disinfectant along to her rallies.

"I watched the news and thought some people might be worried, so I quickly brought some along," she told the reporters.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura urged people to wash their hands but said there were no plans to limit public gatherings.

The new H1N1 influenza virus has caused the first pandemic of the 21st century, according to the World Health Organization. When the northern hemisphere's autumn weather sets in, it is expected to worsen. Most cases are mild to moderate, with H1N1 appearing to be about as deadly as seasonal flu.

参加日本(众议院)选举的候选人们想拉选票,但由于新的(H1N1)流感病毒在日本大规模流行,一些候选人在宣传造势的过程中减少了握手次数。

日本已确认有三人死于甲型H1N1流感。日本卫生事务大臣于本周三表示,确诊病例的增加表明今年夏季新型流感的传播速度超过预期。

虽然距离8月30日的大选仅剩一周多一点的时间,而且日本反对党派民主党有望胜出,但候选人玉城丹尼还是决定谨慎行事。

他在接受记者采访时说:“在竞选活动中,握手非常重要,所以这相当麻烦。”

他说:“如果我感染了流感,再把它传染给免疫力较弱的年长者,那就糟了。” 玉城丹尼的家乡冲绳岛是流感的重灾区。

据媒体报道,日本民主党候选人横米胜仁数天前出现流感症状后暂离选战。他与人气较高的前首相小泉纯一郎的儿子的竞争十分激烈。

在重返竞选战场后,他做出了一个非同寻常的竞选承诺。

日本《读卖新闻》援引其竞选阵营一名成员的话说:“我们保证不会近距离发表演说,以免听众因唾液传播而染病。”

来自名古屋的执政党(自民党)候选人藤野真纪子在参加集会时随身携带消毒剂。名古屋的一名81岁的老妇因流感而去世。

她在接受记者采访时说:“我看了新闻,觉得有些人可能会担心,所以赶紧带了一些来。”

日本内阁官房长官河村建夫敦促人们勤洗手,但表示无意限制公众集会。

世界卫生组织称,新出现的甲型H1N1流感病毒造成21世纪首次疾病大流行。随着北半球进入秋季,流感疫情预计还将加剧。大多数病例的严重程度为轻微至中等,而且目前看来H1N1流感的致命性与季节性流感差不多。

Vocabulary:

cut back on:减少,削减

play it safe:Also, play safe. Avoid extreme risks(谨慎行事)

set in:到来;开始


日本参选议员免握手防流感: http://insuns.com/article/18829-1.html