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The largest outbreak of Ebola virus disease occurred in West Africa in 2014 and resulted in unprecedented transmission even in distant countries. In Japan, only nine individuals were screened for Ebola and there was no confirmed case. However, the government promoted the reinforcement of response measures and interagency collaboration, with training and simulation exercises conducted country-wide. The legacies included: publication of a communication policy on case disclosure, a protocol for collaboration between public health and other agencies, and establishing an expert committee to assemble the limited available expertise. There were challenges in taking proportionate and flexible measures in the management of people identified to be at high risk at entry points to Japan, in the decentralised medical response strategy, and in the medical countermeasures preparedness. The Ebola outbreak in West Africa provided a crucial opportunity to reveal the challenges and improve the preparedness for rare but high impact emerging diseases that are prone to be neglected. Efforts to uphold the lessons learnt and maintain public health preparedness should help prepare for future emerging diseases, including bioterrorist acts and pandemics.


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