Suga, Gates say vaccines for developing countries essential for Olympics


Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates agreed on Tuesday on the need to distribute coronavirus vaccines to developing countries to ensure the safety of this summer’s Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, according to a person who has attended their telephone interviews.

Gates called on Suga to organize a successful Summer Games because it would send a strong message to the rest of the world, Suntory Holdings Ltd. CEO Takeshi Niinami told reporters. Suga replied that the games were a “very important issue” and that they would “definitely” be prosecuted, Niinami said.

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The Tokyo Olympics are set to begin in July after being postponed last year due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, although the Japanese public remains skeptical amid a recent spike in infections across the country.

During the approximately 15-minute conversation, the co-founder of US tech giant Microsoft Corp. and co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation expressed hope for the success of the games as well as the Tokyo Nutrition for Growth Summit. , a conference. on efforts to end world hunger scheduled for December, according to the Foreign Ministry.

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Niinami, who is close to the prime minister, said he arranged the phone talks at Gates’ request.

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