Foreign residents 'have lower vaccination rates'

An NHK survey has found that foreign residents have lower coronavirus vaccination rates than the overall population in Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo.

The survey covered the residents of 25 cities and towns in Tochigi who had been fully vaccinated by mid to late September.

Utsunomiya City has the largest number of foreign residents eligible for vaccinations in the prefecture, followed by Oyama City and Ashikaga City.

While Utsunomiya's vaccination rate for all eligible residents was 42.4 percent, the rate for non-Japanese was 23.5 percent.

In Oyama, the overall rate was 40.1 percent compared to 14.7 percent for the city's foreign residents.

In Ashikaga, the rate for all residents was 44.4 percent, while the one for non-Japanese was 11.4 percent.

Vaccination progress varies by municipality. Ichikai Town had the highest rate with 51.2 percent of foreign residents fully vaccinated. Mibu Town had the lowest rate, at 5.5 percent.

Officials of Tochigi Prefecture say some people may be unable to make appointments for the jabs because they don't understand Japanese well enough.

The officials say they want to work with municipalities to deliver vaccination information to everybody.