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Vaccine chief Kono blames drug approval system for slow inoculation drive

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Japan's COVID-19 vaccine chief has blamed a rigid drug approval system for a slow inoculation campaign that is relying on only one approved shot, as a fourth wave of infections raises worries amid preparations for the Summer Olympics. Taro Kono, the minister in charge of vaccines, took responsibility for the… Read

Tokyo 2020 Olympics

IOC says negative public opinion no threat to Tokyo Olympics

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The IOC on Wednesday downplayed concerns over Japanese public opinion calling for the Tokyo Olympics to be canceled, before its virtual news conference was interrupted by an activist protesting the games. The news conference followed a monthly meeting of the International Olympic Committee's executive board held amid a state of… Read

Politics

Suga repeats determination to hold Olympics as he expands state of emergency

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Japan on Friday further expanded a coronavirus state of emergency from six areas, including Tokyo, to nine, as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga repeated his determination to hold the Olympics in just over two months. Japan has been struggling to slow infections ahead of the games. The three additions are Japan’s… Read

National

Publisher slams gov't handling of virus in 3 newspaper ads

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A newspaper ad criticizing the Japanese government's response to the nation's fourth pandemic wave was widely shared on social media on Tuesday as public concerns mount over COVID-19 and official plans to host the Olympics, now just two months away. The ad, appearing in three national newspapers -- the Asahi… Read

Politics

Petition to cancel Tokyo Olympics submitted to Koike

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A petition to cancel the Tokyo Olympics with more than 351,000 signatures was submitted to the city's governor on Friday, with its organizer urging officials to "prioritize life". The online petition titled "Cancel the Tokyo Olympics to protect our lives" was launched on May 5 by Kenji Utsunomiya, a lawyer… Read

World

Israeli strike on Gaza kills 10; unrest spreads to West Bank

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An Israeli air raid in Gaza City killed at least 10 Palestinians, mostly children, early Saturday in the deadliest single strike since the battle with Gaza's militant Hamas rulers erupted earlier this week. Both sides pressed for an advantage as cease-fire efforts gathered strength. The latest outburst of violence began… Read

National

Many reasons why Japan has been slow to roll out vaccinations

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Japan's rollout of COVID-19 vaccines began belatedly in mid-February, months behind the United States and many other countries. Officials blamed a shortage of Pfizer Inc. vaccine from Europe as the main culprit in the delay. But three months later, with shipments stabilized and officials attempting to accelerate vaccinations, Japan remains… Read

World

GOP purges Cheney for 'unity,' but Trump bent on retribution

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Republican leaders insisted that purging Trump critic Rep Liz Cheney from their ranks was necessary to unify the party ahead of next year’s midterm elections. But former President Donald Trump, who celebrated Cheney's ouster by calling her a “bitter, horrible human being,” has made clear he has no interest in… Read

National

Japan to put 3 more prefectures under state of emergency

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The Japanese government decided Friday to extend the country's COVID-19 state of emergency to three more prefectures, a surprise move that comes as infections continue to surge ahead of this summer's Tokyo Olympics. Hokkaido, Okayama and Hiroshima will come under tougher restrictions from Sunday to May 31, said Yasutoshi Nishimura,… Read

National

Tokyo reports 772 new coronavirus cases; nationwide tally 6,338

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The Tokyo metropolitan government on Saturday reported 772 new coronavirus cases, down 82 from Friday. The average for Tokyo over the past seven days stands at 876. People in their 20s (234 cases), their 30s (135) and their 40s (125) accounted for the highest numbers, while 99 cases were aged… Read

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