Suga made the pledge on Wednesday during an online summit co-organized by the Japanese government and the Gavi vaccine alliance, an international organization to support vaccinations in developing countries.
Among participants in the summit were heads of government, ministerial-level officials and others, including U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Microsoft Corp. cofounder Bill Gates. Suga spoke to the participants about Japan’s efforts to provide vaccines.
In an address, Suga called on each country to cooperate regarding the provision of vaccines to developing nations.
“The efforts cannot be accomplished by one nation alone. I hope a network of international assistance will expand as a sign of solidarity,” he said.
The Japanese government has already contributed $200 million to COVAX. The total donation to COVAX that Japan has announced now amounts to $1 billion.
With a shortage of vaccines becoming a serious problem in developing countries and elsewhere, Suga said that Japan intends to provide around 30 million doses. He seems to have in mind the product of British drug giant AstraZeneca Plc, which is still not in use in Japan.
Japan is considering providing the vaccines through COVAX to developing countries and providing them to Taiwan directly. Suga indicated that Japan will start providing the vaccines when the environment is in place.
COVAX has set a goal of providing 1.8 billion doses of vaccines, enough for 30% of the total population of developing nations, within this year. However, as of the end of May, its funding was $1.3 billion short of the necessary $8.3 billion.
Suga said that funds far exceeding the necessary amount of $8.3 billion have now been secured because countries other than Japan also announced in the online summit their plans to donate.
China has been expanding its influence through such measures as providing its own Chinese-made vaccine to more than 80 countries. Japan, which has not developed its own vaccine, has been lagging behind China in that regard. Holding the COVAX summit was a move apparently aimed to counter China.
Published : June 04, 2021
By : The Japan News/ANN