Brussels, May 27 (EFE).- The European Union and Japan agreed Thursday to increase production of Covid-19 vaccines to guarantee global access.
At a video conference summit, they also agreed to cooperate in the fight against climate change.
“Our first common priority is to defeat Covid-19 and ensure a sustainable and inclusive recovery,” European Council President Charles Michel, who represented the EU alongside European Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen, said after the meeting in front of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
Brussels and Tokyo emphasized their support for the Covax initiative, a week before Japan hosts the next summit to raise funds for this initiative promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Gavi Alliance, with the aim of ensuring access to vaccines for poor developing countries.
“We hope these efforts will help secure sufficient resources to vaccinate 30 percent of the world’s population by the end of this year,” Michel said.
Von der Leyen pointed out that the EU has authorized the export of more than 100 million doses to Japan, which “is a strong sign that we support any preparation for the Olympic Games and the safety of these games.”
With less than two months to go until the Tokyo Olympics, Japan is making slow progress with vaccinations and is suffering through a fourth wave of infections, although it has managed to curb it since mid-May to below 5,000 cases per day throughout the country, after a state of emergency was declared in the capital and other regions.
Michel said that during the meeting, Suga said he was “committed to the adoption of all precautionary measures that are necessary” to be able to hold the Olympic Games, between July 23 and August 8.
At their 27th bilateral summit, the EU and Japan signed an agreement to cooperate in the fight against climate change, boosting industrial decarbonization and the development of renewable technologies, such as offshore wind energy, hydrogen and battery manufacturing, as well as promoting sustainable finance with the issuance of green bonds.
“The EU-Japan Green Alliance is an important milestone (…) that will boost cooperation in many areas: energy transition, business, innovation, environmental protection or sustainable finance,” Michel said.
“Japan is one of the first countries to commit to climate neutrality, last autumn and like the EU is very committed to long-term goals,” Von der Leyen said.
Brussels, moreover, has passed a law to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.
Von der Leyen, Michel and Suga also reviewed the Strategic Partnership and Economic Partnership Agreements – signed in 2018 – and the Connectivity Agreement, which the EU and Japan signed the following year.
“The EU wants to make the next ten years our digital decade,” said Michel, who noted that Brussels will collaborate with Japan on the development of emerging technologies, 5G and 6G, artificial intelligence.
They also discussed security and defense cooperation, especially in the Indo-Pacific region and the South China Sea, as well as combating cyber-attacks. EFE