0258 GMT January 20, 2020
Local officials in Yamaguchi Prefecture began slaughtering the birds on Tuesday at a farm in the city of Nagato after tests confirmed a highly pathogenic strain of H5 avian influenza, Press TV reported.
The tests were carried out following a report from the farm that 21 chickens had been found dead on Sunday and Monday.
At a ministerial meeting over the government’s reaction to the outbreak, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, "We will continue to take all necessary measures if any further outbreaks are confirmed."
The officials demanded that 18 other farms within a 10 kilometer range of the affected farm do not transport their poultry outside of the geographic area.
The incident is the third flu outbreak after 42,000 chickens were culled in Miyazaki Prefecture. On December 16, around 4,000 chickens were also slaughtered in a farm in the city of Nobeoka in Miyazaki Prefecture. They were the country's first bird flu cases since April.
The H5N1 strain has killed more than 400 people, mainly in Southeast Asia, since 2003. Another strain, H7N9, has claimed more than 170 lives since emerging in 2013.
The recent outbreaks have also affected other countries including Britain, Germany, Egypt, Canada, and the Netherlands.