July 31, 2021

Business support | First doses of Moderna vaccine

In the press review of Friday April 30, Japan is injecting 3.8 billion euros to help companies affected by the crisis, the first doses of the Moderna vaccine arrive on Japanese soil, and Japanese business leaders ask the government to be more agile with the vaccination campaign.

Financial assistance for businesses

On Friday, the Cabinet of Japan decided to use 500 billion yen (3.8 billion euros) to help companies affected by the third state of emergency declared in the country. Financial assistance will be paid to the departments so that they can grant subsidies to small and medium-sized enterprises and tourism operators to help them continue their activities. This money will also be used to monitor the implementation of health measures to curb the spread of the virus. This is the first use of these exceptional funds for the Japanese fiscal year which just started in April. In the context of a fourth national wave, Tokyo and departments from Osaka, from Kyoto and of Hyôgo, were placed under a state of emergency until May 11, 2021.

The first Moderna doses on Japanese soil

The first batch of the American Moderna vaccine against Covid-19 arrived in Japan, at Kansai airport in Osaka department. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co, Moderna’s Japanese partner, has applied for vaccine approval to the authorities. It will become the second type of vaccine authorized in the country after that of Pfizer Inc, and provided that it is approved by a panel of the Ministry of Health on May 20. The government plans to administer it in “vaccinodromes” that are expected to open soon Tokyo and Saka. Japan has entered into a supply agreement with Modern 50 million doses, enough to immunize 25 million people, or about one-fifth of the Japanese population.

Business leaders on the government council

Although Japan is the country in Asia to have obtained the highest quantity of vaccines against COVID-19, the Archipelago has vaccinated only 1.6% of its population so far. This represents the slowest advance among developed countries, as the Japanese are due to host the Olympics this summer. As a result, twenty-four business leaders, including Hiroshi Mikitani, CEO of Rakuten Group and Shinya Yamanaka, Nobel laureate in biology made a joint statement. This press release alarms the need for a more daring and coordinated effort to speed up the vaccination of the population. Also, the bosses declare that: “Government and local administrations should not limit themselves to outdated ideas and should effectively use the expertise of the private sector”. In this sense, they propose to simplify the vaccination procedures, the requests, as well as a better deployment by authorizing systems such as the drive or large scale installations.