Japan begins vaccinating healthcare workers
NHK -- Feb 17
Japan has begun vaccinating healthcare workers at medical facilities across the country.

The vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German partner BioNTech will be administered to the first group of about 40,000 healthcare workers at 100 hospitals.

Workers at the National Tokyo Medical Center began receiving their shots on Wednesday. They will get their second dose after three weeks. About 800 workers at the medical center will be part of the initial group to be vaccinated.

State Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Yamamoto Hiroshi told reporters after observing the vaccinations that this is a big step toward containing the coronavirus.

He said he was deeply moved to see people receiving their injections.

Yamamoto said that the health ministry will work closely with and listen to the opinions of healthcare workers and local governments in doing its best to ensure people in Japan are vaccinated as soon as possible with peace of mind.

The health ministry plans to conduct a four-week survey on 20,000 people in the initial group after their second dose to check for any side effects, such as fever. It will release its findings periodically.

The ministry is preparing to begin inoculations of the remaining 3.7 million healthcare workers in mid-March. It plans to start vaccinating senior citizens aged 65 and older from April.


国内で初めてとなる新型コロナウイルスのワクチンの先行接種が東京都の医療機関で始まりました。  東京・目黒区の東京医療センターでは17日午前9時ごろから新木一弘病院長を含む医師や看護師など医療スタッフ合わせて12人に対し、ワクチンの先行接種が始まりました。  先行接種は、国立病院など約100の医療機関で4万人程度の医療従事者が対象となっています。  この病院では800人のスタッフがその対象で、この後に行われる優先接種も合わせると2000人が接種を受けるということです。  厚生労働省は先行接種を受ける人に健康状態を調査し、副反応などの情報を定期的に公表していくとしています。 - ANNnewsCH

Feb 25
A panel of experts at Japan's health ministry has pointed out that the number of new cases of the coronavirus in the country has been declining at a slower pace since mid-February. (NHK)
Feb 24
NAGOYA – Toyota Motor Corp. on Tuesday began construction of a smart city at the foot of Mount Fuji in central Japan as a testing ground for new technologies including robotics and artificial intelligence. (Japan Times)
Feb 24
Since last year, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (Tepco) left two broken seismometers unrepaired at the No. 3 reactor within its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, officials said Monday. (Japan Times)
Feb 22
Japan has received its second shipment of the coronavirus vaccine developed by US pharmaceutical company Pfizer. (NHK)
Feb 22
Tokyo Electric Power Company has found that the pressure inside one of the reactor containment vessels at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has dropped. (NHK)
Feb 19
NHK has learned that a capsule used to bring back asteroid samples to Earth will be on display in March at a museum in Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo. (NHK)
Feb 19
Japan's health ministry has decided to require patients with serious cases of COVID-19 to remain hospitalized for at least 15 days after they start showing symptoms. (NHK)
Feb 17
Japan has begun vaccinating healthcare workers at medical facilities across the country. (NHK)
Feb 17
Japanese companies are moving to expand the country's still-nascent hydrogen fueling infrastructure, taking advantage of recent deregulation as Tokyo positions the fuel as central to its pivot away from carbon. (Nikkei)
Feb 17
Vaccinations that kicked off Wednesday in Japan are administered through intramuscular injection — the delivery of medication deep into the muscles — which is widespread in Western countries but not so in Japan. (Japan Times)
Feb 16
The number of patients with seasonal flu in Japan was below 100 during the first seven days of February. That's far below the levels seen before. (NHK)
Feb 14
A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck northeastern Japan at around 11:07 p.m. on Saturday, local time. No tsunami warning has been issued. (NHK)
Feb 13
Japanese localities have begun a scramble to secure medical personal to carry out a mass vaccination campaign against the coronavirus slated to start next week, with estimates predicting that 11,000 physicians are needed per day nationwide. (Nikkei)
Feb 10
Japan is unlikely to inoculate as many people with Pfizer Inc.'s COVID-19 vaccine as planned due to a shortage of special syringes capable of extracting the final dose from vials provided by the drugmaker, health minister Norihisa Tamura said Tuesday. (Kyodo)
Feb 09
Japanese precision equipment maker Shimadzu Corp started selling on Monday test kits that can detect coronavirus on inanimate surfaces, including doorknobs, faucets and computers, for the first time in the world. (Japan Today)
Feb 08
Japanese researchers believe that a jawbone fossil discovered in Fukui Prefecture in 2019 might be from the earliest mammal to ever live within its shores. (NHK)
Feb 07
Doctors have warned that many coronavirus patients, especially younger ones, are suffering aftereffects for a long time despite subsequently testing negative for the virus and are calling on the government to take countermeasures. (Kyodo)
Feb 07
The European Union has approved exports of novel coronavirus vaccines to Japan for the first time, EU sources said Friday. (Japan Times)
Feb 06
A Japanese health ministry survey shows that less than one percent of people in Tokyo and four other prefectures are estimated to have had antibodies against the coronavirus last December. (NHK)
Feb 06
The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission, takes us over the algal blooms swirling around the Pacific Ocean, just off the coast of Japan, in this edition of the Earth from Space programme. (European Space Agency, ESA)