Japan’s Response Following the Food Poisoning Incident at the Planned Venue for PALM8
Following the occurrence of a food poisoning incident on May 5 at Spa Resort Hawaiians (Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture),1 the planned venue for the Eighth Pacific Islands Leaders Meeting (PALM8), which is scheduled to be held from May 18 to 19, the Government has decided to hold PALM8 at Spa Resort Hawaiians as planned upon having taken measures described in paragraph 3, based on the response taken to date by Spa Resort Hawaiians, Iwaki City (including Iwaki City Public Health Center) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) described in paragraph 2.
1. Food poisoning incident (as announced by Iwaki City Public Health Center)
On Saturday, May 5, 169 (as of May 12) of the 457 patrons who ate dinner at the restaurant Nesia in Monolith Tower developed symptoms such as diarrhea and stomachaches (these symptoms were not exhibited by patrons of any other facilities). None of them were hospitalized and all of them have already fully recovered. It has been determined that the source of the food poisoning was the dinner served that evening and that the agent was Clostridium welchii. In response to the incident, Iwaki City Public Health Center ordered Nesia to suspend service for three days, from Thursday, May 10 to Saturday, May 12.
2. Response taken to date
(1) Nesia disposed of all items that had already been prepared and disinfected the premises three times (on May 6, the morning of May 10, and the afternoon of May 10, one of which was conducted by a specialized, third-party company).
(2) On May 10 and 14, all 24 restaurant facilities, including Nesia, were disinfected.
(3) On May 12 and 13, Iwaki City Public Health Center provided onsite instructions to Nesia, upon the lifting of the temporary suspension of the restaurant’s service. It also monitored all 24 restaurant facilities, including Nesia.
(4) Based on the instructions of the Iwaki City Public Health Center, Nesia amended its meal preparation processes (for example not preparing meals and leaving them to sit), and provided hygiene training to the staff.
(5) Spa Resort Hawaiians will take measures to completely replace its existing food stock at all 24 restaurant facilities by the time PALM8 is scheduled to be held.
(6) In the afternoon of Monday, May 14, Mr. Iwao Horii, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, visited the premises. Together with MOFA officials (including the Secretary General for PALM8) who had arrived earlier, Parliamentary Vice-Minister Horii received a briefing from the relevant management officials of Spa Resort Hawaiians, the Deputy Mayor of Iwaki City, and the head of Iwaki City Public Health Center, and inspected the facilities.
3. Response to be taken during PALM8
(1) Nesia will not be open.
(2) During PALM8, the kitchens used will in principle be the ones for the Japanese restaurant and the Western restaurant in the main building. (Due to the accommodation arrangements for certain delegations, two other restaurant facilities will be used occasionally.) Other restaurant facilities (excluding Nesia) will also be open for service and the delegations are free to use them.
Note: MOFA will continue to provide each of the participating countries a thorough explanation of the facts and the response policy.