"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 regarding Receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine

[Date] March 4, 2022
[Source] Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet
[Notes] Provisional Translation
[Full text]

(On the Prime Minister's thoughts upon having received a third vaccine dose; on future measures for accelerating the administration of vaccines)

It was at the end of August that I received my second vaccine dose, so six months passed as of February 28. And, my voucher arrived from Hiroshima City, so I made an appointment and got my booster dose today here at this Large-Scale Vaccination Center. The two doses I had previously were both the Pfizer vaccine, but today for my third dose I received the one made by Moderna. So I got what is called a "mix and match" vaccination in that my doses came from two or more manufacturers, but nothing in particular is different from my first and second doses, and I didn't feel it to be strange or disadvantageous in any way.

I came to tour and observe this vaccination center in January when it first opened. At the time it had just started and it was before the scale operations was expanded. Today when I observed the center and I saw, and was informed, that compared to the last time I visited, although the scale of operations has grown, at the same time, vaccines are being administered in a more efficient way, thanks to the ingenuity of the people involved. Once again I would like to express my respect and appreciation to all the medical practitioners around the country who have been advancing this effort in various locations nationwide, and also to those who have given us their cooperation in receiving the vaccination.

And, in your question just now, you mentioned that there are appointments available. In mid-February we realized the administration of one million doses per day, and the pace of vaccination is quickening. As of the end of February, local governments had already sent vouchers for the booster to more than 60 million people, and municipalities and workplaces are accepting applications to receive the vaccine.

In this way, we have secured the necessary vaccines to be administered. We have also prepared vaccination centers. And we have sent out vouchers to 60 million people. What is left is for as many people as possible to go to the vaccination centers. The Government will continue to make efforts to have a large number of people cooperate with this initiative by thoroughly publicizing our efforts, focusing on the effectiveness of getting a third dose, its safety, and so on.

I encourage everyone to get vaccinated once they receive their voucher, putting priority on speed, for each person's own sake and also for the sake of their family members and other important people in their lives, as well as to restore our peaceful daily lives at the earliest possible time.

(On the situation in Ukraine)

Just now I spoke with President Zelensky of Ukraine over the telephone. As you might have expected, we discussed the situation at the nuclear power plant. I conveyed to Mr. Zelensky my thoughts that the recent assault on the nuclear power plant is an outrage that cannot be tolerated for any reason, and that, in light of Japan's experience of the accident at the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, Japan condemns the attack in the strongest terms.

I also told him that, in response to a request from the Ukrainian side, in order to demonstrate our feelings of strong solidarity with Ukraine, Japan is now working out a way to provide bulletproof vests, helmets, cold weather clothing, emergency provisions, and so on. President Zelensky expressed his appreciation for Japan's contributions.

We aim to deliver these necessary supplies at the earliest possible time in order to support Ukrainians facing hardship. Japan stands together with the citizens of Ukraine who are doing everything they can to work to defend their sovereignty and territory, as well as their homeland and their families. We intend to continue to provide such assistance.

(On sanctions against Russia)

Various opinions have come forth regarding additional sanctions, such as barring Russian aircraft from Japanese airspace. Our fundamental approach is to consider additional sanctions as we look at the situation in the future, essentially working in cooperation with the G7 and the wider international community. The situation is changing on a day-to-day basis and there is no way to predict the direction in which it will develop in the future. We are examining additional sanctions in concrete terms while staying fully mindful of our cooperation with the international community, after also accurately assessing the state of affairs.

(On defending Japan's nuclear power plants)

I regard the matter of how best to defend our nuclear power plants as a major point needing resolution. I imagine that within the overall discussion, it is important to consider how to handle such kinds of specific points as well. That said, I very much want to take this up in the larger context of discussing the text of the National Security Strategy and discussing Japan's national security. We will still be having discussions in the future and I'd like to engage in those discussions keeping the importance of such matters firmly in mind.

(On the Beijing Paralympic Games opening while the Russian invasion of Ukraine is taking place)

Regarding the point you made, by convention, an Olympic Truce agreement is concluded when the Olympic and Paralympic Games are held. With regard to that, my understanding is that the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and others have responded to the matter, so I think it would be best if you directed your question to the IPC itself. The Paralympic Games have started against that backdrop. I think it is important that we once again contemplate sports, and also peace.