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Japan's business leaders suggest ways for gov't to speed up vaccination rate

46 Comments

Japanese business leaders and a Nobel-prizewinning biologist called upon the government to reform its vaccination program, including allowing drive-through inoculations, as the nation struggles to contain a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japan has secured the largest quantity of COVID-19 vaccines in Asia, as it gears up for the summer Olympics. But it has inoculated only 1.6% of its population so far, the slowest among wealthy countries.

Government data on Wednesday showed that Japan has only used about a fifth of the coronavirus vaccine doses it has imported so far, underscoring logistical hurdles such as a shortage of medical staff.

Twenty-four business leaders, including e-commerce group Rakuten's CEO Hiroshi Mikitani, and Nobel-winning stem cell biologist Shinya Yamanaka said a bolder and coordinated effort was needed to speed up vaccinations.

"The government and local administrations must not be constrained by outdated thinking and must make effective use of private sector expertise," they said in a statement.

They urged the government to simplify vaccine application procedures, quicken administration of vaccines by allowing them to be done using a drive-through system and large-scale facilities, and seek the cooperation of medical experts.

The proposals also called for the government to manage vaccination records to encourage residents and visitors from outside Japan who have been inoculated to resume economic activities.

Japanese government officials were not immediately available for comment on Thursday, a national holiday in Japan.

Rakuten's Mikitani, who is also the representative director of the Japan Association of New Economy, has said it was "too risky" to hold the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer, as Japan struggles with a nascent fourth wave of the pandemic.

Supporters of the proposals included the Japan Medical Association President Yoshitake Yokokura, furniture chain Nitori Holdings Co's CEO Akio Nitori and Takeshi Niinami, head of Japanese beverage group Suntory Holdings.

© Thomson Reuters 2021.

©2021 GPlusMedia Inc.

46 Comments
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"The government and local administrations must not be constrained by outdated thinking and must make effective use of private sector expertise," they said in a statement.

Perhaps we could commission a three-year study on the topic.

46 ( +46 / -0 )

giddy-up Japan

11 ( +14 / -3 )

Use the Olympic stadium and other large facilities, instead of shoehorning large groups of people in small buildings. The MacDonald's drive-thru in my Tokyo neighborhood is probably the area's most popular businesses.

Ironically, it's because nearly all the medical institutions are "businesses" (private sector) that the govt is struggling to move ahead in a coordinated, cooperative fashion.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Japan's business leaders suggest ways for gov't to speed up vaccination rate

People, business leader already said about this. If IOC said the same thing probably government will be do inoculation faster.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

Imagine living in a country where the gov't is so HIGHLY uncapable of being able to figure something out, they have to turn to a random joe who has won the Noble Peace Prize. This is so crazy. I can not believe this is actually happening. With the lack of Vaccine distribution, and the recent travel increase there is going to be HUGE increases of cases soon!

9 ( +12 / -3 )

"The government and local administrations must not be constrained by outdated thinking"

Suga: "Yes, we must not be outdated. So lets send out a fax to all government offices and advise them to consider a plan for how to utilize up-to-date thinking. Then have them mull it over with expert authorities, provided that they are all male, over 70, and are descendants of the political elite. After fully examining the proposals, have them deliberate their conclusions, then hanko their recommendations, and fax them back to the central government for further consideration."

29 ( +29 / -0 )

Which will fall on deaf ears, as usual.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

We all have been giving the Government advice for the last year and three months but no one listed to we the citizens of Japan.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

It may be a blessing in disguise that Japan is slow in inoculating its people. Just wait till serious side effects show up in other countries.

-17 ( +2 / -19 )

How long does it take to train someone to give injections? 10 minutes? 15?

More or less anyone could do it!

19 ( +19 / -0 )

Thank you Gentleman, how about taking over this task!?

Guaranteed you will do a better job, Amazon. Rakuten, and almost all E Commerce companies are Guaranteed to do the job faster and even better than the current system.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

These business leaders are presuming that the government is failing but acting in good faith. They aren’t seeing the ulterior motive of the Olympics which is undoubtedly guiding the decision not to roll out the vaccinations at speed.

There is no fix to that other than for everyone to start calling the gov out on it and insisting that it puts the health and well being of the population first.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Here is an idea divert the 10,000 doctors and nurses needed for the Olympics to giving vaccinations to the Japanese people.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

Drive through vaccinations won't work everywhere.

In Tokyo, setup tents next to subway stations and catch people as they head home from work. That's 7.5M people vaccinated based on their high-risk travel method. Just put up a sign for 75+ at each station until that becomes a trickle. Then 65+ and certain medical conditions, then 55+, 45+, 35+, 25+ ...

Get as many people with 1st shots as possible ASAP.

And it appears that Sputnik V has quality control issues, at least in Brazil.

Ref: https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/04/brazil-rejects-sputnik-v-vaccine-says-its-tainted-with-replicating-cold-virus/

JCR Pharmaceuticals has the AZ manufacturing license in Japan for 90M doses.

Pfizer will supply 144 million doses of its vaccine this year.

Moderna will supply another 40 million doses by June and 10 million doses by September.

So that turns into 45+72+20+5 = 142M fully vaccinated people, probably delivered faster than J-govt can get the shots into arms. ref: https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus/Japan-to-produce-90m-doses-of-AstraZeneca-COVID-19-vaccine

2 ( +3 / -1 )

With the lack of Vaccine distribution, and the recent travel increase there is going to be HUGE increases of cases soon!

Odd.

Yesterday you claimed that the reason vaccine wasn't being distributed was that doctors are against it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Here's an idea: Don't micromanage it. Let private clinics do the vaccine (there are thousands everywhere), pay the doctors to do it, and make it available to whoever wants one.

Let people motivate themselves to get it. There is huge demand for this. Those who are hesitant can sit at home and wait.

Of course, this will never happen. The bureaucracy is too entrenched, and politicians are only responsive to the needs of people over 65.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

@HBJ

These business leaders are presuming that the government is failing but acting in good faith.

Dude if you've figured that out don't you think they have? They're probably worried about falling too far behind international companies that are already being vaccinated.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Utterly shameful that they “don’t have the staff” to vaccinate the population. We have more beds per capita than most countries but unusable as they’re in local private clinics. The staff in them are obviously useless if they can’t even administer a vaccine.

For those that live here, the amount of tax money taken out of our wages each month specifically for subsidizing government health care is enormous.

Utter waste of tax money.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

anon99999Today 08:19 am JST

Here is an idea divert the 10,000 doctors and nurses needed for the Olympics to giving vaccinations to the Japanese people.

It's not 10,000 and they don't want anything to do with it. In fact, nurses scheduled to be seconded to the Olympics want it cancelled:

https://news.yahoo.co.jp/articles/7f99f6b6650d7ba117de51c568459174d00abf1e

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is not really about Covid-19 or public health.

The oyaji's in government are concerned about the image of doing this in "Japanese style."

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Old school. And the ways suggested are not even new. In less advanced countries they are already doing it. Same old Japan. No ginger.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I had written to Kono San before the start of the inoculation campaign saying bureaucrats and administrators should not be entrusted with this but that a combination of experienced event organisors, Yamaro and Sagawa, Nippon express, convenience store logistic departments and removal companies should be appointed as we all have the correct experience for it and Yamato, Sagawa are the worlds best delivery companies with extensive networks including central and local distribution centers. This in combination with well organised teams of doctors, nurses, dentists and veterinarians for the actual injections. All the organisations i mention here have proven over and over their expertise and by now we would have uses all available vaccines but i did not even receive a reply. I called aswell. Promised return call never came.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

The slow vaccine roll out has nothing to do with the Olympics.

They don't have an emergency protocol for the AZ and are plodding through licensing. Which is a problem, as it is the fastest and easiest vaccine to inject. 60 seconds and you are done.

Pfizer requires more time to inject (10/15 min wait to check for allergies) and ultra cold storage, which is a limiting factor on locations and vaccination rates.

Yes, anyone can be trained to vaccinate, but Japan is hardly short of doctors or nurses. Anywhere can be used as an injection site from conference halls and empty offices to a tent in front of a konbini.

The biggest problem may be inadequate logistics. The default-to-private healthcare system, poor roll out of My Number and multiple layers of bureaucracy.

It's possible that the Yen will drop soon that failing at this will cost the LDP at the next election. Then things might speed up.

Pay per dose for getting it into arms and offer people something in return for getting vaccinated, if you have to. But get on with it.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Japanese business leaders and a Nobel-prizewinning biologist called upon the government to reform its vaccination program, including allowing drive-through inoculations, as the nation struggles to contain a resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic

The Professor Yamanaka who early last year proposed to the government to universities PCR testing facilities, drive throughs and ramp up testing to more than 100,000-300,000 a day. We all know how it ended, test has never exceeded 100,000 a day when England is doing 350,000 test a day. Son Masayoshi even donated free

PCR tests and was heavily criticized for it. This proposal will fall on deaf ears as usual.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Why need so many people to give 1 shot.

Hawaii has mass vacination places also can get it at drugs stores CVS and Walgreens. More places better.

Started weeks ago 16 years old children.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

they seem like good suggestions for me, anything that can make it faster for people to get vaccinated should be readily accepted.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japan has secured the largest quantity of COVID-19 vaccines in Asia, as it gears up for the summer Olympics. But it has inoculated only 1.6% of its population so far, the slowest among wealthy countries.

As usual, hiding the truth or softening the embarrassment.

By the way, which countries are wealthy countries and what is the criteria for a wealthy country ?

There are countries that have vaccinated a high percentage of their populace that are not even in the G-20.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Why need so many people to give 1 shot.

Hawaii has mass vacination places also can get it at drugs stores CVS and Walgreens. More places better.

Started weeks ago 16 years old children.

なっちゃん, much more concerning is that Japan is the only place that has only approved one vaccine. The least effective, most dangerous (insofar as severe side-effects) and most expensive of the four main vaccines which are Sputnik V, Sinopharm, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.

Why is this the case? Why can't the government let the population choose which vaccine we want? Sputnik V is by far the most effective and causes the most mild side-effects if any at all but Russia and Japan don't have much of a trading relationship. I don't agree with the Japanese government but I understand money comes first. The second best vaccine is the Sinopharm vaccine. Only a little better than the Moderna vaccine but better is better and it's cheaper and easier to deploy. China is Japan's No.1 trading partner by far yet China was told by the Japanese government, not in so words but to the effect of "thanks for offering your vaccine but don't even bother submitting it for approval. It won't be approved."

Why is this? I know Japan is an occupied country and USA makes any major decisions but this is something the Japanese government can decide themselves. Is Pfizer paying off government officials? Why is no one talking about this?

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

Let the pharmacists nationwide vaccinate all walkins regardless of age

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Any idea that doesnt come out from a government approved panel of "experts ( majority of whom are from business and non medical background ) after months and months of procrastinating and watering down is a non starter. Remember how long it took Japan to distribute the 10man yen support money or even Abenomasks? What other countries could do in days or a couple of weeks took 3 months plus....and that was way easier than vaccines. The incompetence here is unparalleled.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

I think your average taxi driver could think up a better plan than what is currently happening. For example, in case of emergency there are designate facilities in every city in Japan. Immediately start using those for vaccinations.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It needn't be only medical professionals administering the shots, literally anyone can do it as is happening in other countries. Get a move you bunch of old gits, there's no excuse for this procrastination and bureaucracy when citizens livelihoods are at stake. They really don't get what is going on in the real world do they, sack the lot of them.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

"The government and local administrations must not be constrained by outdated thinking 

Bingo! The problem being these institutions are lead by outdated people.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

People with diabetes self inject, family members do it too.

Drug addicts self inject (not that the two groups are related)

But the law says only Doctors of any type and nurses?

in the army we were trained in a relaxed afternoon to inject each other

Think the overly complicated manner the laws are made are part of the problem.

it’s Japan it has to as complicated, even when the process is basic.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sputnik V is cheap and convenient but...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Dentsu have a rather large HQ building down by Shiodome, that is hardly used now. Perhaps they could offer it for free, as a recompense for all of their profits from the management of the Games, distribution of money and other activites that they have undertaken these last few years,

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Think the overly complicated manner the laws are made are part of the problem"

Absolutely...but the kicker is one would expect the politicians who are paid by us are there to make and amend laws as necessary and there is no more urgency than in a pandemic to change some 100 year old archaic laws. It should take a few days oto introduce an emergency bill /law into parliament and get it passed ( should be near unanimous vote to change laws to better protect publci health and lives in a pandemic i would imagine. But for that we would need to be in a normal country where some politicians are able to take a stance and exhibit some leadership, not here where the LDP gits are unable to pull a finger out of....utterly useless. What happened to Mario Abe/LDP promise of arrows to " drill bedrock of regulations and outdated laws?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Last year, 4 Japanese Nobelist had suggested improvement plans such as drastic expansion of PCR test.

But Japan's Suga government ignored it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The national government is full of the Tokyo Daigaku rote memorisation clones that are mow showcasing the limitations of group think.. A friend who did his Phd at Todai once said of his peers " If they don't know the answer to the problem then they focus on changing the question"

Citizens-" Pandemic, Protection, Vaccination, Compensation"

Government-" Olympics"

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Twenty-four business leaders, including e-commerce group Rakuten's CEO Hiroshi Mikitani, and Nobel-winning stem cell biologist Shinya Yamanaka said a bolder and coordinated effort was needed to speed up vaccinations.

"The government and local administrations must not be constrained by outdated thinking and must make effective use of private sector expertise," they said in a statement.

They urged the government to simplify vaccine application procedures, quicken administration of vaccines by allowing them to be done using a drive-through system and large-scale facilities, and seek the cooperation of medical experts.

These so called, twenty-four business leaders, including e-commerce group Rakuten's CEO Hiroshi Mikitani, must play a more positive role.

At such a crucial time, to limit travel, all twenty-four, should be offering financial incentives for their staff to refrain from travel on golden week.

But no, the twenty-four are guilty of the bare faced hypocrisy, constrained by outdated thinking, they are all accusing the Government of.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Resign en masse?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And due to it being a traditional holiday, no government officials were available for comment.

What a bunch of self serving dilettantes ! Cancel the holidays and deal with the emergency. At least Nero played a fiddle while Rome burned.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I proposed that some earlier, so I am definitely also soon a business leader or Nobel prize winner....yeah.

rofl

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If you live here you know that drive through ain't gonna cut it. How about walk through?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ironically, it's because nearly all the medical institutions are "businesses" (private sector) that the govt is struggling to move ahead in a coordinated, cooperative fashion.

Wtf.

The government totally runs this thing, you can’t seriously blame the private sector for the inept handling by central government.

Indeed such an important issue should not be left to central planning which virtually always fails miserably.

"The government and local administrations must not be constrained by outdated thinking and must make effective use of private sector expertise," they said in a statement.

I’d take my chances with the private sector - which either delivers or loses customers - than government and local administrations, whom get paid with my taxes no matter the quality of service they provide me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sputnik V is by far the most effective and causes the most mild side-effects if any at all but Russia and Japan don't have much of a trading relationship.

@Paul Why do you keep pushing this poor quality Russian vaccine? Brazil tested it and found it was contaminated with live cold virus. It could kill someone. Russia refused to allow Brazilian officials to inspect their factory.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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