Kishida to announce new health crisis management agency

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Prime Minister Fumio Kishida

The reported health crisis management agency the government intends to create to strengthen measures against infectious diseases will be announced by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Wednesday, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned from government sources.

The government is considering setting up the new agency in the Cabinet Secretariat as a permanent organization reporting directly to the prime minister.

The plan is for the agency to act as a command center, unifying the functions of the novel coronavirus response office in the Cabinet Secretariat and the response headquarters in the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

There is a proposal to limit the full-time staff at the new agency to a small number during normal times and to assemble staff from the health ministry and other organizations in case of emergency.

The government’s expert panel to review the novel coronavirus response is expected to call for the strengthening of the command center function in recommendations to be compiled by as early as Wednesday.

Kishida had pledged to create a health crisis management agency during last September’s Liberal Democratic Party presidential election.

The government will compile a concrete plan for the agency with the aim of submitting a bill for its creation to the ordinary Diet session that starts in January 2023.