Panel urges new approach for infectious diseases

A panel of advisers to Japan's government is calling for the creation of a more powerful system and command center to respond to any emergency of infectious diseases.

The proposal was contained in a draft of this year's basic policies for economic and fiscal management and reform, which was submitted at a meeting of the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy on Wednesday.

In light of lessons learned from the coronavirus pandemic, the draft says the government should pursue measures under a stronger system and command center in the event of an emergency of infectious diseases.

It proposes that the government should study legal measures so it can speedily put medicines for treatment as well as vaccines into practical use and secure a more effective vaccination system.

The draft also calls for an early start of studies on creating a new government office to respond to issues related to children.

At the meeting, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide said that while tackling the coronavirus pandemic as a priority issue, the government will invest mainly in four areas. They are a green society, digital transformation, local regions, and children.

He said the government aims to come up with answers for long-standing challenges and achieve vigorous growth.

Based on the draft plan, the government plans to work with the governing parties and make a final decision at a Cabinet meeting next week.