Japan adopts strategy to develop domestic vaccines

Japan has adopted a long-term strategy to catch up with the US and Europe in the development and production of vaccines.

The ongoing pandemic has highlighted the need for the country to strengthen its ability to develop vaccines domestically.

The strategy was approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday. It calls for setting up top-level research and development centers for advanced studies, and a government scheme to strategically distribute funding.

Networks for clinical studies are to be expanded in Asia so that large-scale clinical trials can be conducted smoothly in the region.

The government will also consider purchasing vaccines developed by private companies if outbreaks of new infectious diseases occur.

Ahead of the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide told a healthcare panel that he wants all relevant ministers to work together under the strategy so the nation can firmly respond to infectious diseases, including COVID-19.

Suga plans to explain the strategy at an online summit on vaccines on Wednesday. Japan will co-host the event with an international group promoting coronavirus vaccinations in developing nations.