Japan looks to emergency reserves to buy Covid-19 vaccines

8 Sep 20

Japan is set to spend 671.4bn yen (£4.86bn) from its emergency budget reserves to secure vaccines for Covid-19.

The government set aside 9.7trn yen (£70bn) earlier this year to prepare for a “protracted war” against the virus and make quick spending decisions because emergency reserves can be spent without prior scrutiny from parliament.

The Ministry of Finance made the announcement amid the political uncertainty that has followed prime minister Shinzo Abe announcing his resignation due to health problems.

The Japanese government has previously said it wants to buy enough vaccines for every citizen to receive one by the middle of 2021.

The announcement also came after official data revealed Japan’s economy contracted by 28.1% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020 – the largest contraction since the Second World War.

So far the government has announced more than 200trn yen (£1.45trn) of stimulus measures to counter the effects of the virus.

Japan has seen about 1,400 deaths, far below many of its economic peers in the West.


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