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Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) Public Health Network Conference and Attendance by Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Ms.Yoshikawa

February 22, 2023

On February 21 and 22, a high-level conference on “Universal Health Coverage (UHC) in an Era of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Pandemics" was held in Tokyo, hosted by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the AMR Clinical Reference Center. Ms.YOSHIKAWA Yuumi, Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs, attended the opening and delivered a speech.

This conference is part of the Public Health Network Project under “Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Initiative for the Rapid Containment of Pandemic influenza” supported by Japan through ASEF.

In this conference, Mr. SHIOZAKI Yasuhisa, former Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, and approximately 60 public health experts from ASEM partners, international organizations, private companies and NGOs participated and discussed the promotion of UHC from the perspective of infectious disease control measures that incorporate the AMR perspective.

Ms. Yoshikawa referred to the achievements to date of “ASEM Initiative for the Rapid Containment of Pandemic influenza”, including Stockpiling Project which delivers stockpiled items such as supplies for infectious disease control in the event of a pandemic, and the PHN Project which supports the preparedness to respond to public health crisis. She stated that Japan would take further measures against infectious diseases in response to the pandemic of COVID-19. In addition, she noted that the importance of UHC has been reemphasized by the COVID-19 outbreak, and that especially this year Japan, as the chair of the G7, would take a lead to achieve more robust, equitable, and sustainable UHC, with a view to the UN General Assembly High-Level Meeting on UHC to be held in September this year.

[Reference 1] Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) was founded in 1997 in Singapore as a permanent body of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM). It engages in activities to enhance mutual understanding between Asia and Europe with a focus on the socio-cultural field.

[Reference 2] “ASEM Initiative for the Rapid Containment of Pandemic influenza”
At the 7th ASEM Summit in October 2008, then Prime Minister Taro Aso announced this initiative in order to prepare for Pandemic Influenza. Japan contributed approximately 32 million US dollars to ASEF. The initiative consists of two components.

  • (1) Stockpiling of Antiviral Drugs and Personal Protective Equipment for Rapid Containment of Pandemic Influenza In this project, antiviral drugs and personal protective equipment are stockpiled and will be delivered to wherever necessary within and around the ASEM area in case of pandemic influenza to contain it.
  • (2) ASEF Public Health Network
    This project strengthens preparedness of receiving countries, risk communications and network between Asia and Europe through workshops and training and support to build a system in order to make emergency operation easier and more successful in case of public health emergency.

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