The Japanese government approved on Tuesday spending of 671.4 billion yen ($6.32 billion) from emergency budget reserves to secure coronavirus vaccines, the Ministry of Finance said. Japan's government said it would bear the cost of providing coronavirus vaccines to the populace, as it aims for a comprehensive inoculation against the pandemic.
The government also said it planned to establish funds to compensate for possible side effects from the vaccines. The plans were outlined in documents distributed at a briefing by Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who also heads the coronavirus response. Outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had pledged the government would secure enough vaccines for every Japanese citizen by the middle of next year.
Japan has made bilateral agreements with overseas pharma companies to secure hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines that are still being tested. It has also agreed to join a World Health Organisation effort that aims to buy and fairly distribute inoculations.
The government has said it hoped to secure enough vaccines for every citizen by the middle of next year, and provide them for free.