Japan approves free COVID-19 vaccines for nation

A bill to provide coronavirus vaccinations free of charge with the central government covering the cost was passed in the Diet, offering a key plan to stem the virus as Japan struggles with its worst-yet wave of infections.

Wednesday’s passage in the Upper House following approval in the more powerful Lower House will bring the law into effect. It also makes local governments responsible for administering the immunizations, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

The law includes a provision obliging citizens in principle to make efforts to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. But the provision will not go into effect unless the effectiveness and safety of vaccines are fully confirmed.

The move comes as a new wave of virus infections has prompted the worst-hit areas of the country to call on bars and restaurants to close early, and has forced Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to partially suspend the Go To Travel campaign, which is intended to shore up suffering regional economies. While the death toll in Japan is by far the lowest in any Group of Seven advanced nation, the country suffered its worst economic downturn on record in the April-June quarter.

Suga has vowed to secure enough doses of vaccine for the “people of the country” by the first half of next year and it remains unclear to what extent foreign residents will be eligible for free vaccinations. Not all Japanese nationals may be enthusiastic about immunization. An Ipsos survey conducted in October showed that 69% of Japanese respondents were willing to get a vaccine if available, compared with the global average of 73%.






新型コロナウイルスのワクチン接種を無料にする「改正予防接種法」が参議院の本会議で全会一致で成立しました。
 政府は新型コロナウイルスのワクチンについて、来年前半までに国民全員に提供できる量の確保を目指すとしています。改正法ではワクチンの接種費用を全額、国が負担し、接種によって健康被害が確認された場合は医療費を支給するとしています。製薬会社が支払う損害賠償も国が肩代わりします。ワクチン接種には努力義務が生じますが、有効性や安全性が確認できない場合は適用しないとしています。また、新型コロナウイルスに感染した入国者の隔離措置などについて、来年2月までの期限を最大1年延長できる改正検疫法も成立しました。

Dec 02

A bill to provide coronavirus vaccinations free of charge with the central government covering the cost was passed in the Diet, offering a key plan to stem the virus as Japan struggles with its worst-yet wave of infections. (Japan Times)

Dec 02

Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide and the Tokyo governor agreed to ask seniors and people with underlying health issues to refrain from using the central government’s “Go To Travel” domestic tourism campaign when traveling to and from the capital.
(NHK)

Nov 28

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Friday that shorter hours for bars and restasurants serving alcohol would be “crucial” in stemming the coronavirus spread, with other major cities Osaka, Nagoya and Sapporo having already taken or getting set to take similar steps.
(Japan Today)

Nov 28

The Diet on Friday gave the green light to stop Saturday as well as next-day delivery of standard postal mail to address a worker shortage and falling demand due to increased use of the internet.
(Japan Today)

Nov 25

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is poised to ask bars and restaurants that serve alcohol to shorten their hours. (NHK)

Nov 25

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has reasserted his country’s sovereignty over the Senkaku Islands. He stressed the necessity of avoiding any action that could complicate matters in the waters around the islands.
(NHK)

Nov 24

The Japanese government is considering giving a new honorific title to female imperial family members who lose their royal status after marriage to enable them to engage in public duties, government sources said Monday. (Kyodo)

Nov 23

Governors across Japan have called on the government to let them know as soon as possible about any changes to its programs designed to promote travel and dining.
(NHK)

Nov 23

Chinese state media lashed out against Japan and Australia last week over their “confrontational” new defense pact and said the two countries would “pay a corresponding price” if it threatens China’s security.
(TomoNews US)

Nov 23

Infectious disease experts have weighed in on Saturday’s decision by the government to review its Go To Travel tourism promotion campaign, criticizing the move as too late and likely to have little effect in preventing the further spread of COVID-19.
(Japan Times)

Nov 22

Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has announced that he’s partially halting government programs brought in to boost travel and dining out.
(NHK)

Nov 19

Japan will adopt stronger security requirements for drones used in defense and infrastructure surveillance next fiscal year, a move that will essentially shut out Chinese-made devices from government procurement. (Nikkei)

Nov 18

Japan’s Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide says his country and Australia have reached broad agreement on a pact related to joint exercises by the Self-Defense Forces and the Australian military. (NHK)

Nov 17

Japan’s Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide has conveyed to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison hope for a stronger bilateral partnership to realize a free and open Indo-Pacific.
(NHK)

Nov 17

Hokkaido’s local government heads agreed Monday to ask residents of Sapporo to refrain from nonessential outings following back-to-back days of record coronavirus infections in the region. (Japan Times)

Nov 17

The International Olympic Committee has awarded former Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo its highest honor for his contribution to the Olympic movement.
(NHK)

Nov 17

A subtle change in Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s phrasing of a key Japanese foreign policy concept — a “free and open Indo-Pacific” — has raised questions about whether Tokyo has shifted its stance. (Kyodo)

Nov 16

Leaders from 15 Asia-Pacific nations have signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, a huge free economic zone.
(NHK)

Nov 15

Japanese Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide says he will work with Southeast Asian countries to fight the coronavirus.
(NHK)

Nov 14

Japan’s Regulatory Reform Minister Kono Taro says the use of personal seals will likely be abolished for most government paperwork.
(NHK)




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