Policy (17)

Japan intends to issue a vaccine passport in July

The country should start issuing the document, in coordination with local governments, in July.

According to the Secretary General of the Cabinet, Katsunobu Kato, the government intends to start issuing proof of vaccination against the new coronavirus, called a vaccine passport.

“We are going to enact the Regulations for the Enforcement of the Vaccination Law in mid-July and, after testing the revamped Vaccination Registration System (VRS), in relation to local governments, we would like to start issuing the vouchers. It is scheduled for the end of July”, declared Kato.

At this point, the vaccination passport will be on paper, but later it will be considered to be scanned.

Sources: JNN and Sankei

Government admits made serious mistakes in 70 vaccinations

According to a document compiled by the Government Office on Tuesday (29), 70 cases of "errors that can cause serious health problems" were reported in vaccination, and another 69 cases of "errors with a low risk of causing serious health problems immediately ”. The data are from vaccinations made until the 16th of June.

The most common mistake was “application of the second dose of vaccine at inappropriate intervals”, totaling 33 cases. “Vaccinations with needles used on other people”, “people who received 3 times instead of 2” and “people who received both doses on the same day” were also found.

"We need to think about ways to end these mistakes as vaccination opportunities are gradually increasing," Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference.

Kato also commented on the British research that found that the combination of the application of 2 different vaccines is more efficient than the double application of one of the same type. “We were not able to confirm the efficiency and safety of the data from this research, so we do not recommend this type of vaccination”, he said.

Source: ANN

Tokyo Governor is discharged from hospital

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike was discharged from hospital this Wednesday (30) after being treated for severe fatigue, the metropolitan government said, less than a month before the opening of the Olympics.

Koike, 68, was hospitalized on June 22nd. She will carry out her tasks via telecommuting for the time being under the guidance of doctors, the metropolitan government said.

“I apologize from the bottom of my heart for making a lot of people worried and causing them problems by being out of work at this important time,” she said in a statement.

Koike faces the tasks of leading the capital's response to the coronavirus pandemic, as well as preparations to host the Olympics and Paralympics. The Summer Games are expected to start on July 23 as Japan continues to struggle to contain the spread of the virus.

The governor said that her health has improved somewhat and she has promised to speed up her recovery so that she can fully return to her duties.

Source: Mainichi

Suga inspects quarantine controls in Haneda

Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga inspected the quarantine and other anti-virus measures at Haneda Airport in Tokyo. He instructed officials to carry out stringent border controls in preparation for the Olympics and Paralympics.

During his visit this Monday morning (28), Suga first inspected the location where All Nippon Airways employees are being vaccinated against Covid-19. He also tested touchless check-in systems that Japan Airlines uses to prevent infections.

The prime minister then observed the procedure for antigen testing at a quarantine station and was briefed on preventive border measures.

Suga said the number of new infections is on a declining trend nationwide, with the exception of Tokyo and surrounding areas that have been steadily increasing.

He said a strong sense of urgency is needed to implement preventive measures. He promised a quick and flexible response if needed when looking closely at the situation.

Source: NHK

Government plans to start vaccinations for people under 64 in June

Ministry will send vaccination tickets for people under 65 in the month of June.

The Ministry of Health, Work and Welfare (MHLW) has asked local governments to issue vaccination tickets for people under 64 years of age.

According to the ministry, there will be no priority in sending the tickets as it will be difficult for the authorities to know who has a chronic disease at the time of sending them.

The ministry comments that vaccinations could start even earlier than expected if vaccinations for the elderly end.

Tokyo's Sumida neighborhood plans to ship tickets to 175.000 people between the ages of 16 and 64 on 1 June.

The reservation of vaccination will be made primarily for adults between 60 and 64 years, people with chronic diseases and employees of care institutions for the elderly.

“We have vaccines for all citizens. We asked everyone to confirm the time of vaccination”, comments the ministry.

Source: Yomiuri

Japanese government creates panel to promote chip industry

Members of the new panel agreed to help Japanese companies in the industry conduct research and build factories.

Japanese government officials are concerned about the country's semiconductor industry lagging behind global competitors. The Ministry of Industry is promising to tackle the problem through a panel of experts.

Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama attended the inaugural meeting on Wednesday (24).

Members shared the view that Japan lags behind the US and China in providing subsidies to chip makers. They also pointed out the need for policies that improve supply networks.

Members agreed to help Japanese manufacturers conduct joint research with foreign competitors and build factories that produce high-tech devices such as chips for smartphones.

They will study the promotion of investment in automobile semiconductors in order to leverage the advantages of Japanese chip makers.

Computer chips are in short supply around the world, forcing automakers to cut production. A fire at the Renesas chip factory in Ibaraki last week could result in even more trouble.

The panel plans to draft its proposals by May.

Source: NHK

Politicians wear white in protest to Olympics director

About 20 members of the assembly participate in the committees dressed in white in form of protest to the comments of the director of the Olympics.

At a chamber assembly on Tuesday (9), about 20 politicians wore white costumes and a rose in protest at the statements by director Yoshiro Mori of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee.

The color white is a symbol in the US of the women's suffrage movement. In 2019, members of the US Congress wore white jackets during former President Donald Trump's State of the Union Address.

Masako Okawara, from the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan (Rikken Minshu-to), said at a press conference: "We want to show that we will not condone this type of female discrimination."

Akiko Kamei, from the same party, expressed the participants' views during the budget committee. “White is the color that represents women in politics. Last night, the women of the chamber decided to participate in the white assembly”, she said.

Wakako Yata, deputy director of the People's Democratic Party (Kokumin Minshu-to), and Seiko Noda, minister for internal affairs and communications, called for the director's resignation and plans to improve gender equality.

Source: Tokyo Shimbum.

Olympic Committee Director Apologizes for Macho Comment

Olympic committee director holds a press conference on Thursday (4) to apologize for sexist comments during a meeting the day before.

On Thursday afternoon, Yoshiro Mori, director of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee, held a press conference at the committee's office to apologize for the macho comments. “My words yesterday hurt the spirit of the Olympics,” he told reporters.

Mori refers to the macho comments he made during a board meeting on Wednesday (3). On that occasion, the director said that “when there are a lot of women, the meetings are long” and other opinions of a sexist nature. Mori was heavily criticized by other politicians and on social media, and several people called for his resignation from office.

One of the main goals of the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) is to increase the participation of women on the board to 40%. “If management focuses on numbers, it will be difficult to manage. I just commented on a conversation I heard from the board and ended up saying that”, comments Mori.

Then Mori said: “I don't think about resigning”, denying the possibility of a resignation by the director. When asked by journalists what he thinks about the numerous voices of people inside and outside Japan calling for his resignation, the director said: “I humbly accept all opinions. So I take back what I said”.

Source: NHK.

'When there are a lot of women, the meeting takes a long time,' says Olympic committee director

Commentary by the director of the Olympic Committee makes a sexist comment and receives several criticisms from newspapers and the population.

On Wednesday night (3), the Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) held an extraordinary online board meeting where 51 members participated. The main theme of the meeting was the review of the rules for the re-election of executives, but it also addressed the goal of increasing the participation of women on the board to 40%.

During the meeting, which was open to the press, Yoshiro Mori, director of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Organizing Committee, said: "When there are a lot of women, board meetings get long."

“It's hard to talk openly when you have TV here,” were Mori's first words before making comments classified as sexist. “Women are very competitive. If one raises his hand, the other thinks he has to say something. And everyone ends up talking,” he commented. “If we increase the number of women on the board, we have to put limits on the time for comments otherwise the meeting will be extended, that's what I heard from one person. But I won't say who did it”, he added.

Mori's comments generated a great repercussion on the Internet and was also reported in international media. The attitude of the other participants, who were laughing during Mori's comments, was also criticized.

Policymaker Ren Ho of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan disapproved of Mori's attitude and that of the committee. “It is with this mentality that the Olympics will be held”, comments Ren Ho. “This is a disgrace to the motto of the Olympics”, he adds.

The American newspapers Washington Post and New York Times reported on the case. “The Tokyo Olympic Committee already had the disapproval of the majority of the population and problems with overpriced works. With a comment from one of the people at the top, it will generate a new wave of outrage,” wrote the Washington Post.

The New York Times reported that "this is another one of the many scandals of the former prime minister", and also criticized the attitude of the other members who "just laughed".

On social media, many people ask for Mori's resignation. In an interview with Mainichi Shimbum this Thursday (4), the director comments on the possibility of resignation. “I have to bear the consequences. If too many people ask for my resignation, I will have to step down,” he said.

Source: Mainichi.

Vaccines: shipping dates will not be published for security reasons

Minister Kono and Cabinet Secretary Kato say details about the transport of vaccines will be "hidden" and asks the press not to report on the matter.

On Tuesday (2), Minister for Regulatory Reform, Taro Kono, asked the press to avoid news about the transport of Covid-19 vaccines. The request came after Fuji TV reported that Pfizer's first vaccination could start on the 14th of this month if all approval procedures are closed.

At a press conference, Kono said that it is necessary to hide data about the arrival of vaccines for safety reasons. “I don't want to run the risk of causing an unexpected situation regarding the transport of vaccines from abroad to Japan for safety reasons. I will not say any information about the dates and places of transport. I ask that (the press) avoid interviews and news”, said the minister.

Kono explains that "an unexpected situation" can be "from a terrorist attack to an act of interference".

On Wednesday (3), the Secretary of the Cabinet Katsunobu Kato reinforced Kono's request. “I ask for the help and collaboration of the press.”, he said. Kato also said that he will give more details as soon as the vaccination schedule is confirmed.

Source: NHK.

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