Statement by H.E. Mr. Yasuhisa Shiozaki, Senior-Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs
at the Pledging Session of The International Pledging Conference on Avian and Human Pandemic Influenza

January 18, 2006

Distinguished delegates of Governments and International Organizations,
Ladies and gentlemen,

As I stated earlier, avian and human pandemic influenza must be addressed by the entire international community. Under this recognition, the Government of Japan announced that we would extend assistance of approximately $ 135 million by the end of this coming March, in particular to Asian countries at the highest risk of outbreak and need for assistance. Concrete measures included in this package are as follows:

Firstly, Japan will assist in the stockpiling of 500 thousand courses of antivirals, and provide influenza test kits and personal protection equipment for 700 thousand people, to respond to the outbreak of avian and pandemic influenza in Asia. To this end, $ 46.8 million will be allocated from Japan's contribution to support ASEAN integration.

In this relation, $ 2 million will be extended to the WHO to enhance its surveillance capacity and to support distribution planning of antivirals stockpiled by the WHO. In order to consider the necessary measures for early containment of a potential human influenza pandemic, including ways to utilize the international stockpile of antivirals, Japan co-hosted with the WHO an experts' meeting on January 12 and 13 in Tokyo. Japan's contribution to the WHO was used for holding this meeting attended by Asian countries, major donor countries and relevant international organizations. During the meeting, measures that need to be taken respectively by Asian countries, WHO and donor countries for successful early containment were identified and future directions of their actions were shown.

Secondly, Japan will cooperate with UNICEF and WHO to conduct communication campaigns in rural areas and provide influenza vaccinations to high risk groups in order to prevent and to be prepared for an influenza pandemic in Asia. Japan will contribute $ 49.1 million to support these projects.

Thirdly, with regard to avian influenza, Japan will provide effective emergency assistance to Asia, where infection among birds is increasing, harnessing the expertise we gained through our experience of containing avian influenza in Japan. Specifically, we will contribute $ 19.3 million to the OIE and FAO to help strengthen and improve national veterinary services, notification system, and contingency plan against the virus circulating in poultry.

As the fourth item of Japan's contribution, four leading Japanese infectious disease research institutes, namely University of Tokyo, University of Hokkaido, University of Osaka and University of Nagasaki, will cooperate with research institutions in Vietnam, Thailand and China to establish joint research focal points in each country. Japan is contributing 2.3 billion yen to promote joint research on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and to develop human resources in these countries.

As the fifth element, Japan will provide training relevant to measures against avian influenza to more than 100 personnel from Asian countries per year over the next three years, for capacity building of researchers, health workers, animal health experts, health administrators, etc. Dispatch of experts will also be considered. In addition, Japan will provide necessary equipment including test laboratory in developing countries at high risk of a potential influenza pandemic.

This is the breakdown of Japan's assistance of $ 135 million announced by Prime Minister KOIZUMI.

In addition to what I have explained, Japan will make a contribution of around $ 20 million as a new pledge, through our bilateral trust funds established in the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. With these funds, Japan will respond quickly and flexibly to the financial needs of preparing and implementing these two institutions' projects which aim to assist developing countries in formulating and implementing their national strategies related to avian and human pandemic influenza.

Japan is committed to providing comprehensive assistance for deterring the further spread of avian influenza and rapidly containing a potential influenza pandemic. I hope our assistance will become most effective through close coordination with other countries and organizations engaged in common efforts.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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