Meeting between Foreign Minister MOTEGI and WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom
On July 23, commencing at 11:00 a.m. for approximately 45 minutes, Mr. MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, held a meeting with H.E. Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). The overview of the meeting is as follows.
Minister Motegi paid tribute to Dr. Tedros for his efforts at the forefront of WHO with a view to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) following the spread of COVID-19, and expressed his appreciation for WHO’s insight on infection control to ensure safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Dr. Tedros expressed his respect and gratitude to Japan for hosting the Tokyo Games that gives courage to the world, and stated that the importance of UHC, which has been led by Japan, has become even more prominent worldwide and WHO will continue to strongly support Japan's initiative while deepening cooperation with Japan.
In addition, Minister Motegi explained Japan’s vaccine donation including through the COVAX Facility. In response, Dr. Tedros expressed his appreciation for Japan’s leading role in ensuring equitable access to vaccines, including co-hosting of the COVAX Advance Market Commitment Summit in June as well as providing vaccine donation.
Furthermore, Minister Motegi stated that Japan will continue cooperating with WHO, looking ahead to the special session of the World Health Assembly at the end of November and to strengthening the global health governance as a whole in the post-COVID-19 era. He also noted that there should be no geographical vacuum in responding to global health challenges. With regard to the study of the origin of COVID-19, Minister Motegi emphasized the importance of conducting more thorough studies that lead to unraveling the origin of the virus, and that Japan attaches high importance to the Phase 2 study. Dr. Tedros stated that COVID-19 is not the last infectious disease with the risk of developing into a pandemic and it is necessary to understand the origin of the virus also for the sake of the victims of the COVID-19 and their families. Dr. Tedros then expressed WHO’s intention to continue working with Japan to strengthen preparedness and response to future health crises with a view to achieving UHC.
Lastly, Minister Motegi stated that Japan will host the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit this December, amidst the challenges including exacerbated malnutrition caused by COVID-19. Minister Motegi extended the invitation to Dr. Tedros, and Dr. Tedros expressed his willingness to participate.