Japan to contribute ¥34.5 bil. to global vaccine development

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Prime Minister’s Office in Tokyo

The government intends to contribute an additional $300 million (about ¥34.5 billion) to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) over the next five years, according to sources.

The government aims to help strengthen measures against infectious diseases around the world and increase Japan’s presence in the field of global health by making an additional contribution to the international framework, which supports the development of vaccines against diseases such as COVID-19.

Arrangements are being made for Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and CEPI Chief Executive Officer Richard Hatchett to hold telephone talks Friday, during which the prime minister will inform him of the decision to contribute the funds, according to the sources.

CEPI is a framework that provides funds to pharmaceutical companies and research institutes with financial contributions from participating countries and entities. It mainly funds unprofitable research and development in fields such as vaccines for which demand is limited in normal times.

The framework was launched in January 2017 at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. Countries such as Japan, Germany and Norway, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other entities have contributed funds.

CEPI was also involved in the establishment of the COVAX global vaccine-sharing program. It has supported the development of vaccines for epidemics such as Ebola, and also provided support to U.S. pharmaceutical firm Moderna Inc. and Britain’s AstraZeneca PLC for the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

CEPI needs $3.5 billion for its five-year plan starting in 2022, and is calling for funding contributions. Since it was established in 2017, Japan has contributed $220 million, including funding for COVID-19 vaccines.

Among countries and entities participating in the framework, Norway has been the largest contributor with $400 million, followed by Germany with $370 million.