Health minister: Coronavirus tops the agenda

Japan's new health minister said on Tuesday that tackling the coronavirus pandemic will be his most urgent task.

Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Goto Shigeyuki was greeted by staff when he arrived at the ministry for the first time as a member of the Cabinet.

He told reporters that his most urgent priority was to implement anti-virus measures thoroughly to protect people's lives and livelihoods.

Goto said that he was asked by Prime Minister Kishida Fumio to work with other relevant ministers on coronavirus vaccines and drugs. He also plans to help medical institutions secure both beds and staff to treat coronavirus patients.

The minister said that he was also instructed to enhance the country's health risk management system.

Goto stressed that he will do all he can to respond to the demands of his new role.