Japan to send 1.2 mil. doses of vaccine to Taiwan

Japan's government has decided to supply 1.2 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine to Taiwan, which is facing a surge in new infections.

The decision was made on Thursday, a day after Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide pledged at an online summit to send 30 million vaccine doses overseas.

The government plans to send to Taiwan doses of the vaccine developed by British firm AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford as early as Friday.

The government does not plan to use the vaccine in Japan's inoculation program for the time being.

Taiwan urgently needs to speed up its vaccine rollout after the coronavirus began to spread rapidly there in mid-May.

Japan also plans to help developing countries build so-called cold chains, which allow vaccines to be transported and stored at low temperatures.

The moves come as China continues to supply other countries as part of its "vaccine diplomacy," apparently to expand its influence.