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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

September 9, 2020 (PM)

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Simultaneous interpretation services for this video are provided by a third party.

Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]

REPORTER: I have a question regarding the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This morning, I asked about the suspension of clinical trials for AstraZeneca’s vaccine due to suspected side effects. The company has indicated that it will likewise suspend trials temporarily in Japan and other countries. Could you share with us the details of the side effects, including whether they are life-threatening, and whether the Government has already confirmed its suspension, along with the potential impact on the Government’s policy for securing a supply of vaccines.
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: […] With regard to the matter you mentioned, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare made an inquiry with AstraZeneca. I understand the company explained that it would temporarily suspend any further administration of the vaccine, including in Japan, until the details of the case are investigated. In any event, the Government will aim to secure the amount necessary to cover the entire population of Japan before the end of the first half of next year. To this end, when an application for the approval of a vaccine is submitted in Japan, the Government will appropriately assess it from the perspective of ensuring efficacy and safety, based on clinical trial data and the latest scientific knowledge.
REPORTER: […] I have a question about the leakage of firefighting foam from Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture. The U.S. Forces in Okinawa announced that a barbecue at the base caused the massive leak of firefighting foam that contained toxic substances from MCAS Futenma in April of this year. Could you share with us the Government’s view of the matter and its request to the United States?
CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY SUGA: Regarding the incident you mentioned, according to the incident investigation report released by U.S. Forces, Japan (USFJ), when a barbecue was held near a hangar to raise the morale of the personnel, heat from the barbecue equipment triggered the hangar fire suppression system, releasing firefighting foam containing perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The Government recognizes that the United States carried out a thorough investigation of the incident. We are urging the U.S. side to work to dispel the concerns of local residents, including implementing thorough measures to prevent a recurrence. Furthermore, USFJ has been steadily replacing firefighting foam containing PFOS, and the Government is urging USFJ to accelerate this process. In any event, the Government will continue to collaborate closely with the local governments concerned and the United States to appropriately address various issues, including replacement of firefighting foam at USFJ facilities and areas.

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