Taiwan was being cornered by China in terms of vaccines and the government in Taipei was complaining about the same. However, at the time of its need, Japan has stepped up and made efforts to make sure that Taiwan gets the vaccines at the time of the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases. A Japan ruling party committee will recommend the government provide part of the national supply of Covid-19 vaccines secured from AstraZeneca to Taiwan, a party official said on Friday.
Taiwan provided the most developed model to deal with the pandemic in the very early days. Notwithstanding its small size, it was willing to provide humanitarian medical assistance to countries all over the world. However, when it needed the world to come to its rescue, it seems to have abandoned Taiwan as it battles a severe COVID outbreak. But, when all seemed lost, Japan has come to the rescue and walked the talk when it comes to standing by the side of Taiwan at its time of need.
The move comes as Taiwan battles a spike in domestic infections and only about 1 per cent of the population of more than 23 million have been vaccinated so far. “We should provide Taiwan with vaccines as soon as possible,” Masahisa Sato, the head of a Japanese ruling party committee on Taiwan relations said at a press briefing. “When Japan was in need, Taiwan sent us 2 million masks,” he said. Japan’s newspaper Sankei reported it earlier on Friday, citing government and ruling party sources.
While Taiwan had till now very successfully managed the pandemic, it is currently witnessing a sudden surge in the cases and as it battles a severe COVID outbreak, the world seems to be looking the other way. For the first time, on Wednesday (May 26), Taiwan directly accused China of blocking a deal with German firm BioNTech for COVID-19 vaccines. “Taiwan was close to sealing the deal with the German plant, but because of China’s intervention, we still can’t sign the contract,” the island nation’s President Tsai Ing-wen said in a meeting of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
Read more: Taiwan helped the world when it needed it the most but an ungrateful world has abandoned Taiwan as it battles a severe COVID outbreak
According to Tsai Ing-wen, unlike this time, Taipei had previously “smoothly” ordered injections from AstraZeneca in the United Kingdom and Moderna in the United States. This is the first time that Taiwan has directly accused Beijing of impeding a contract with BioNTech, according to the South China Morning Post. Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-Chung told a daily news briefing the government had signed and sent back a “final contract” agreed with BioNTech (22UAy.DE) after months of negotiations, and the two sides were on the verge of issuing a press release on Jan 8.
Last Monday, Japan authorised AstraZeneca’s vaccine and agreed to purchase 120 million doses. However, there are no immediate plans to utilise the shots in the country, owing to ongoing international worries over blood clots. Daiichi Sankyo Co (4568.T), an AstraZeneca local partner, began bottling the vaccine in March, and the stockpile is now expected to be over 30 million doses, which will expire by September if not used. The amount is expected to rise as AstraZeneca said this week that Nipro Corp (8086.T) will fill and package the vaccine as its third local partner.
In addition to this, the Japanese government will contribute around 19 billion yen ($173 million) to a project led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. to develop chip-making technology in Japan, the industry ministry said Monday. All these developments confirm the fact that even in the face of their bilateral differences, Japan is all set to provide all kinds of support to Taiwan and make sure that China is not able to corner it any further.
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