Schools Close as Spike in Swine Flu Cases Hits Japan

In a sudden surge that took Asian health officials by surprise, the Japanese health ministry confirmed on Monday at least 125 new cases of the A virus — or swine flu — in the country’s western prefectures of Osaka and Hyogo. Officials have shut down around 1,000 schools since many of the infected were high-school students. Japan, along with the United Kingdom and Spain, is now one of the few countries outside of North America where the World Health Organization fears sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus could lead to the onset of a full-blown pandemic