Japan govt. plans to set up infectious disease management agency

NHK has learned that Japan's government plans to set up an infectious disease management agency under the Cabinet Secretariat.

The government hopes to compile drastic measures against infectious diseases by receiving proposals on Wednesday from an expert panel studying anti-coronavirus measures.

The government's draft plan says the new agency will be a unified body responsible for measures to tackle infectious diseases.

Currently, the Cabinet Secretariat, health ministry and others have separate roles.

The draft also calls for integrating the National Institute of Infectious Diseases, which conducts basic research, and the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, which provides clinical medicine.

The new institute would be a Japanese version of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The government also plans to set up an infectious disease taskforce to step up response capacity at the health ministry. The taskforce is to cooperate with the new institute and municipalities.

The draft also calls for a study on giving prefectural governors the power to issue instructions and orders to hospitals for securing beds when infectious diseases are spreading.

The government is to officially decide on the plan this week.