Japan to double COVID-19 vaccine donations to other countries to 60 million doses


FILE PHOTO: Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga speaks to media after reports on North Korea fired a pair of ballistic missiles at his official residence in Tokyo, Japan September 15, 2021, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan plans to give other countries 60 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday, doubling the target from the previous pledge of 30 million doses.

"Today, I am pleased to announce that, with additional contributions, Japan will provide up to approximately 60 million doses of vaccine in total," Suga said in a pre-recorded video message at the U.S.-hosted Global COVID-19 Summit.

Of the first 30 million, Japan has already provided about 23 million doses mostly to Asian countries including Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Japan initially lagged behind other industrialised nations in its vaccination rollout, but now 55% of its population are fully vaccinated, roughly on a par with the United States.

Earlier this month, in a surprise announcement, Suga said that he was stepping down as prime minister, ending a one-year term that has seen his support crumble as COVID-19 cases surged.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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