FOCUS: Suga Alarmed by Slow Vaccine Rollout

Politics

Tokyo, April 30 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, alarmed by the slow COVID-19 vaccine rollout ahead of this summer's Tokyo Olympics and a general election to be held by the autumn, unveiled plans this week to set up a mass inoculation site each in Tokyo and Osaka Prefecture deploying Self-Defense Forces personnel.

"Vaccination is key to preventing infections. The government will strongly support regional inoculation efforts," Suga told Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi on Tuesday.

Japan had vaccinated only 1.45 pct of its populations as of Sunday due to delays in vaccine imports and shortages of doctors and nurses to administer shots. The figure is the lowest among the Group of Seven major industrial countries and below those in some countries in Asia and Latin America.

Japan will receive some 10 million doses per week after the end of the Golden Week holiday period through early May, regulatory reform minister Taro Kono, who is in charge of the country' vaccination campaign, said on television on Monday.

The deployment of SDF medical officers and nurses was proposed by Kono, who once served as defense minister, sources familiar with the situation said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press