Health and Medical Care

March 30, 2020

 On March 30 from 6 pm for approximately 45 minutes Prime Minister ABE Shinzo had a conversation over the phone with Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organization. The summary of the conversation is as follows.

  1. Prime Minister Abe paid tribute to Dr. Tedros for his efforts at the forefront of the fight against the novel coronavirus disease. Prime Minister Abe expressed appreciation for the regular briefings conducted by WHO where domestic measures taken by Japan are explained on a factual basis and stated Japan’s desire to continue to collaborate closely with the WHO including through information exchange. In response, Dr. Tedros thanked Prime Minister Abe for his leadership in taking an effective whole-of-government approach to confronting the novel coronavirus disease and stated that promoting Universal Health Coverage (UHC), for which Japan has shown global leadership, would be useful in implementing the novel coronavirus measures.
  2. Prime Minister Abe stated that development of medicines and vaccines would be crucial in order to contain and roll back the global spread of the infection, and that, going forward, Japan intends to promote clinical research on Favipiravir in collaboration with other willing countries. He also asked for support from the WHO to accelerate development of medicines and vaccines by obtaining the overall information on various efforts taking place in the world, avoiding duplications, and identifying areas that we should focus on. In response, Dr. Tedros said that the WHO would lead the development of various medicines, vaccines and diagnostics and collaborate with the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the Global Alliance on Vaccination and Immunization (GAVI) especially on vaccine development.
  3. Prime Minister Abe explained that Japan has led the global effort for international assistance and supported countries with weak health systems through the WHO/SPRP Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan with $46 million and expressly asked Dr. Tedros to make this fund available for effective technical assistance to health workers and others in developing countries where the number of cases is rapidly increasing. In response, Dr. Tedros expressed appreciation for the assistance and reaffirmed that the WHO would be effectively utilizing this and other funds from partner countries.
  4. Regarding the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Prime Minister Abe explained his agreement with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach that the Games would be delayed for approximately one year and be held no later than the summer of 2021. He also emphasized the resolve, which he shared with president Bach, to hold the Games in a complete form as proof that humankind has defeated the novel coronavirus. Dr. Tedros expressed his respect and support for the decision by the Government of Japan and stated the WHO desire to continue to be part of the preparation for the success of the Games.
  5. Prime Minister Abe and Dr. Tedros also discussed the importance of international collaboration through G20 and other fora as well as the importance of leaving no geographical vacuum in addressing the novel coronavirus.
  6. There was no exchange on the question of declaration of a state of emergency.

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