Japanese Prime Minister pledges $5 billion to help developing countries respond to COVID.

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Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — Japan will help developing countries in their anti-coronavirus measures with cumulative aid worth $5 billion, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Thursday at a global summit aimed at galvanizing efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

In a video message, Kishida said Japan will continue to promote vaccinations so the world can see an end to the pandemic. At the same time, he pledged that Japan would do its part to strengthen the global health system to prepare for future pandemics.

The summit, the second of its kind, has raised new financial commitments totaling more than $3 billion, according to the US government, which co-hosted the event with Belize, Germany, Indonesia and Senegal.

Japan’s $5 billion aid includes financial contributions to the UN-led COVAX vaccine sharing program. Japan will provide up to $200 million through the Japan International Cooperation Agency to help build local manufacturing capacity for vaccines and drugs in Africa, Kishida said.

The summit was organized to ensure vulnerable people have access to vaccines, tests and treatments and to prevent future health crises.

“Japan is determined to continue to lead international efforts to achieve universal health coverage” through Japan-hosted events in the coming months, Kishida said.

Leaders of the ‘Quad’ group, comprising Australia, India, Japan and the United States, are due to meet later this month, while Japan is expected to take over the chairmanship of the Group of Seven. nations of Germany next year.

At the summit, the United States pledged to increase its initial contribution to the creation of a new Pandemic Preparedness and Global Health Security Fund at the World Bank by an additional $200 million, bringing its total commitment to $450 million.

The White House also announced the same day that the United States had passed a grim milestone of one million lives lost to COVID-19, far more than any other country.

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