Hideaki Asada, the president of a chicken farm at the centre of the bird flu outbreak in Kyoto Prefecture, Japan, has evaded jail for his part in covering up the outbreak.

Asada was handed a suspended one-year prison term today [Tuesday]. His firm, Asada Nosan has been fined ¥500,000 (US$4,513).

Asada violated disclosure laws when he failed to report the outbreak when it started in February. The judge perhaps showed lenience because it is evident that the family felt great remorse and shame. Asada’s father committed suicide with his wife after the cover-up was exposed. The company has closed.