"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Press Conference by the Prime Minister on the Visit to the Self-Defense Forces Large-Scale Vaccination Center in Tokyo and Other Matters

[Date] May 24, 2021
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional translation
[Full text]

(On the visit to the vaccination site, challenges ahead and other matters)

The Self-Defense Forces (SDF), working in cooperation with the private sector, started large-scale vaccination today in Tokyo and Osaka. I visited the site with the Minister of Defense, anticipating some confusion, as it was the first day of operation. However, while inspecting the site, I saw that the inoculations were given in an orderly manner, in keeping with how the SDF operates and this made me somewhat relieved. At the same time, I was deeply impressed to see the elderly recipients look so relieved.

We believe that the vaccinations are the trump card in preventing the spread of infections of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). They have proved effective in major countries around the world, and it is the Government's role to ensure that each and every citizen can receive vaccinations at the earliest possible time and to protect their lives and health. In addition, we have received requests from local governments across the country that cooperate in inoculations to secure vaccinators and to provide an additional subsidy for vaccination payments. We intend to properly respond to such requests. As we take on accelerating our vaccinations, a new challenge we have never experienced before, my Cabinet will do everything in its power to accomplish this by any means, so that we can restore daily lives in which the public feel at ease as soon as possible.

(On measures to accelerate vaccine inoculations)

Currently, we are proceeding with vaccination with cooperation from medical associations, and therefore we request full cooperation for them as well. The same goes for nurses. At the same time, we are at the final stage of consultations with emergency life-saving technicians and organizations in other industries whose members have actual experience in inoculations or often engage in blood testing and vaccinations. In this way, we intend to secure tens of thousands of vaccinators. Against this backdrop, we will make every effort to ensure that we can dispatch vaccinators to areas facing shortages. I just discussed the matter with those from the private sector who cooperate in vaccinations, and they said that there was still enough nurses and that they would secure such personnel. We will squarely tackle the issue through such efforts.

(On incentives for the participation of vaccinators)

As I mentioned earlier, we have received requests to provide an additional subsidy for vaccination payments, so we will provide robust support to meet such requests. In addition, as for those who have not traditionally been able to have a side job among the employed nurses, we have made overall requests for the response to COVID-19, while putting in place frameworks and measures that would enable them to work for local governments.