Japan’s COVAX participation spurs growing international support

September 27 , 2020

On September 21, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance announced that 156 countries and territories including Japan are participating in COVAX Facility, a global initiative to procure COVID-19 vaccines to distribute to all participant-countries on an equitable basis. Komeito has been among the strongest political proponents of the initiative in Japan, with the Japanese government agreeing to take part on September 15 and allocating 17.2 billion yen as part of the agreement.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is a public-private global health partnership aiming to increase access to immunization to poor countries. It is working with the World Health Organization, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and other institutions and individuals to make COVAX Facility a success.

Under the initiative, participant-countries with high- to middle-incomes frontload the cost of vaccine development and production in exchange for a large enough supply to immunize an equivalent of 20% of their population once a vaccine has been successfully developed. Komeito has been lobbying the government to participate since August.

Yamaguchi noted that once Japan committed to COVAX Facility, numerous other governments have followed Japan’s lead. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also issued a statement thanking Komeito for its efforts to persuade the Japanese government to commit to the initiative.