Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said Japan will advance Covid-19 vaccination booster shots by two months, as the highly infectious Omicron variant spreads across the country.
Japan will strengthen its defence capabilities in the region of its southwestern islands near Taiwan, Kishida said in a speech to parliament, and North Korea’s improved missile technology should not be ignored.
The upper house election is scheduled for later this year, so Kishida’s ability to contain the pandemic is crucial. Yoshihide Suga decided to resign last year after his support crumbled as Covid-19 gained popularity.
In the speech marking the start of a regular session of parliament, Prime Minister Kishida said his administration places the highest priority on its coronavirus response.
According to Kishida, elderly adults will receive booster shots six months after the second one, rather than eight months as originally planned, and other adults will receive them a month or two earlier.
According to the Our World in Data project at the University of Oxford, fewer than 1% of Japanese have gotten booster shots, compared to 53% in Britain and 24% in the United States.
Kishida emphasized the difficulty of the battle and asked the people for help in fighting the pandemic. It is important to remind ourselves once again about the fact that the invisible enemy is more potent than anticipated, he said. “I am determined to press ahead calmly with our response based on the latest findings while consulting experts and not being frightened.”