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TOKYO, Japan (CNN) — Panasonic has ordered the families of some of its overseas employees to return home by September, a company spokesman said Tuesday.
The order, issued by Panasonic in December, leaves the employees in their overseas posts, according to Akira Kadota. The company fears an outbreak of influenza, especially bird flu.
The order covers in employees in Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Russia, South America and Asia, excluding Singapore.
Exempted areas are Australia, New Zealand, North America and Western Europe.
“The bird flu cases reported so far are infections from bird to human, but once an infection between human beings is reported, things can get chaotic with many other companies trying to bring back their employees,” Kadota said.
“We wanted to take action early before it gets difficult to book flight tickets,” he said.
The employees will stay, but families of those working in China, Asia (excluding Singapore), the Middle East, Africa, Russia and South America, were ordered in December last year to return to Japan by the end of September, spokesman Akira Kadota said.