JAPAN’S SUPPORT Friend In Need

By providing AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine, Japan has shown that it is always with Nepal at the time of crisis

Aug. 25, 2021, 12:22 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 15, No. 03, Aug. 20, 2021 (Bhadra 04, 2078) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

Former secretary of Nepal Government Dr. Dwarikanath Dhungel, an elderly citizen of Nepal, posted a ‘fully vaccinated’ card on his Facebook wall thanking the Japanese government for saving the life of people in Nepal.

Dr. Dhungel was not alone in thanking the government of Japan and people of Japan for the help. Hundreds of other elderly people who received the vaccine have similar views towards Japan for the vaccine.

Although Nepal government has knocked on the various countries around the world to provide AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccines to inoculate over 1.4 million elderly populations, Japan gave Nepal a big quantity of vaccines.

As in the past crises, Japanese Government announced 1.6 million doses of Japanese-made AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine. Long frustrated by the lack of vaccines, elderly people of Nepal saw their hope renewed with the announcement.

Japan government has handed over the Japanese-made AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Nepalese authorities by Japanese ambassador to Nepal Kikuta Yutaka, who had quietly taken the initiative to address Nepal’s need, as soon as the vaccines landed at Tribhuvan International Airport.

Joint Secretary of North East Asia Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lok Bahadur Thapa, Representative of UNICEF Nepal, Elke Wisch and WHO Representative to Nepal, Dr. Rajesh Sambhajirao Pandav were present at the event when ambassador Kikuta Yutaka handed over the vaccine to minister of state of Health and Population Umesh Shrestha.

The vaccine donation from Japan to Nepal through COVAX facility was announced by MOTEGI Toshimitsu, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan on 13 July.

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At the hand-over ceremony, Ambassador Kikuta stated that this donation is “From the People of Japan for the Friendship with Nepal.” He also appreciated the cooperation of all the relevant organizations to achieve this, including the Government of Nepal and the international organizations such as COVAX, GAVI, WHO and UNICEF. He also mentioned that the Government of Japan strongly supports the vaccination campaign by Deuba administration, which is necessary for the progress of post-COVID Nepali society and its economic recovery.

“We hope that this vaccine, together with other generous contributions from international community, will help Nepal to ease down various difficulties caused by the COVID-19,” the Ambassador stated. Japan has been providing various support for Nepal to tackle with the COVID-19 pandemic with medical equipment for Nepali hospitals to date, the Embassy of Japan will continue working together with Nepal to overcome the pandemic.

“The Government of Nepal sincerely appreciates the Government of Japan for this generous provision of life-saving vaccine to Nepal through COVAX. These Japanese-made AstraZeneca COVID vaccines will be administered to the senior citizens who are waiting for second shots of vaccines of this group,” said the press statement of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The half of Japanese-made AstraZeneca vaccine for Nepal airlifted on August 7 and 8 from Japan to Nepal and reaming in coming to Nepal. Ambassador KIKUTA hopes that these Japanese COVID-19 vaccines will be utilized expeditiously for the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, with a good coordination by the Ministry of Health and Population of Nepal. In this pandemic, the Embassy of Japan has been tackling COVID-19 together with the Government of Nepal to save more Nepali people’s lives.

This vaccination assistance is one of our challenges even in this hardship; Ambassador Kikuta looks forward to working for the post-COVID society and economy of Nepal.

Ambassador Kikuta expressed his hope for the smooth implementation of vaccination campaign and Minister Shrestha took it with thanks and committed to do so. The Embassy of Japan is now coordinating with the Ministry of Health and Population of Nepal to this effect.

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Ambassador Kikuta informed the Minister of Japan’s multiple approaches to fight against COVID-19, mentioning, among others, that Japan took a leading role to establish the COVAX facility and pledged 1,000 million USD in total, and that Japan has been supporting Nepali hospitals under this difficult situation by the medical equipment assistance and made-in Japan ambulances will come in autumn.

Moreover, Ambassador pointed out that Japan has contributed to UNICEF for the cold-chain facility to ensure that the vaccine would reach down as “Last One Mile Support,” which will be beneficial for all Nepali people. Ambassador Kikuta shared the view with Minister Shrestha that Japan and Nepal will strengthen the great partnership by their people, as shown in the long history of friendship between the two countries

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