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World Japan to expedite booster shots, bolster island defence -PM Kishida

08:50  17 january  2022
08:50  17 january  2022 Source:   reuters.com

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TOKYO, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Japan will bring forward COVID-19 vaccination booster shots by as much as two months, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant sends infections soaring nationwide. In a policy speech to parliament, Kishida also said Japan would fortify defence capabilities around its southwestern islands near Taiwan, and that the marked improvement of North Korea's missile technology should not be condoned. With an upper house election slated later this year, containing the pandemic is critically important for Kishida .

As a step to boost Japan 's defence capacity, three main documents laying out the nation's security policy - the National Security Strategy, National Defence Programme Guidelines and Medium-Term Defence Programme - will be renewed in a year, he said. "In order to safeguard the people's lives On Japan 's coronavirus response, Kishida said he planned to make it possible to get a booster shot without waiting for the end of the current waiting period, set by the government, of eight months after the second shot . Calls for early booster shots have been mounting in Japan as the highly transmissible

By Kiyoshi Takenaka

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks before the media at his official residence in Tokyo © Reuters/POOL Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks before the media at his official residence in Tokyo

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will bring forward COVID-19 vaccination booster shots by as much as two months, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant sends infections soaring nationwide.

In a policy speech to parliament, Kishida also said Japan would fortify defence capabilities around its southwestern islands near Taiwan, and that the marked improvement of North Korea's missile technology should not be condoned.

With an upper house election slated later this year, containing the pandemic is critically important for Kishida. His predecessor, Yoshihide Suga, stepped down last year after his voter support crumbled as COVID-19 surged.

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks during his press conference, after the parliament re-elected him as prime minister following an election victory last month by his ruling Liberal Democratic Party, in Kantei, Japan November 10, 2021. Stanislav Kogiku/ Pool via REUTERS. Kishida warns of fallouts from global inflation. Eyes more tax deductions to firms that raise pay. Looking into defence capability to strike enemy bases. To speed up pace of preparing COVID-19 booster shots .

Kishida told reporters he had arranged to secure 2 million doses of Pfizer's antiviral pill in a call with CEO Albert Bourla. Japan will aim to get boosters to about 31 million healthcare workers and high-risk elderly people within six months from their initial inoculation instead of eight, Kishida said. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed on Friday that a man in his 20s who had attended a soccer match near the capital was found positive for Omicron. A cluster of 70 coronavirus cases has been found at a U.S. military base in the southern island prefecture of Okinawa, local media reported.

"The Kishida administration puts the highest priority on its coronavirus response," the prime minister said in the speech marking the start of a regular session of parliament.

From March, booster shots for the elderly will be administered six months after the second shots, rather than the originally planned eight months, and the interval will be shortened by a month or two for other adults, he said.

Fewer than 1% of Japanese have received booster shots, far behind Britain's 53% and 24% in the United States, according to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford.

Kishida underscored a tough battle ahead and asked for the people's support in fighting the pandemic.

"We need to remind ourselves afresh this invisible enemy is tougher than expected," he said. "I am determined to press ahead calmly with our response based on the latest findings, while consulting specialists and not letting fear dominate us."

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As a step to boost Japan ’s defence capacity, three main documents laying out the nation’s security policy - the National Security Strategy, National Defence Programme Guidelines and Medium-Term Defence Programme - will be renewed in a year, he said. “In order to safeguard the people’s lives On Japan ’s coronavirus response, Kishida said he planned to make it possible to get a booster shot without waiting for the end of the current waiting period, set by the government, of eight months after the second shot . Calls for early booster shots have been mounting in Japan as the highly transmissible

(Recasts with PM Kishida comments.) TOKYO, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he had spoken with the head of Pfizer Inc on Friday to secure oral treatments for COVID-19, and that vaccine boosters for the elderly would be accelerated as concerns swirl about variants. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government confirmed on Friday that a man in his 20s who had attended a soccer match near the capital was found positive for Omicron. A cluster of 70 coronavirus cases has been found at a U.S. military base in the southern island prefecture of Okinawa, local media reported.

ISLAND DEFENCE

On the security front, Kishida said he planned to strengthen Japan's island defence capabilities to better protect the Nansei island chain, which stretches to Taiwan from Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's four main islands.

Tension over Taiwan has been rising as Chinese President Xi Jinping seeks to assert his country's sovereignty claims over the democratically ruled island.

Former Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said last month any emergency over Taiwan would mean an emergency for Japan, as well as for Tokyo's security alliance with the United States.

Kishida also said Japan stands firm against North Korea's missile launches.

"North Korea's repeated ballistic missile launches are never acceptable, and the significant improvement of its missile technology must not be condoned," he said.

North Korea has carried out a series of ballistic missile launches this year in an unusually fast sequence of weapons tests.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by William Mallard)

China sends second-largest incursion of jets into Taiwan defence zone .
China sent 39 warplanes -- mostly fighter jets -- into Taiwan's air defence zone on Sunday, the island's government said, in the second-largest daily incursion on record. Taiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which sees the self-ruled, democratic island as part of its territory to eventually be reclaimed, by force if necessary. The final quarter of 2021 saw a massive spike of incursions from China into Taiwan's air defenceTaiwan lives under the constant threat of invasion by China, which sees the self-ruled, democratic island as part of its territory to eventually be reclaimed, by force if necessary.

usr: 1
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