Taiwan government slams online article on Japan's vaccine donation

focustaiwan.tw -- Jun 09
Taiwan's government on Tuesday slammed as "distorted" and full of "rumors" an article recently posted on social media that inaccurately reported on Japan's donation of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan

Japan's government shipped 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Taiwan on June 4, one day after the country's Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi revealed during a legislative session that Japan was working to supply COVID-19 vaccines to Taiwan.

According to Japanese media reports, Motegi told legislators that Taiwan had an urgent need for vaccines right now because its local production capability will only become available in July.

The article first appeared in an online forum a few days ago, but has since gone viral. It claimed that the reason Japan did not provide more vaccine doses was because Taiwanese officials said the country only needed a few doses to meet present need as its indigenous vaccines will be available in July.

A video showing Motegi answering legislators' question which came with the article also went viral. The video caption falsely indicated the Japanese official told legislators Taiwan did not ask for many vaccines, because it only needed enough for June, with Taiwan's locally produced vaccines scheduled to be rolled out in July.

Such claims angered some netizens in Taiwan, at a time when COVID-19 community transmission continues to surge in the country. Several experts have blamed the recent spread of the virus on the government's failure to secure enough vaccines when the COVID-19 situation in Taiwan was relatively good.

Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) issued a statement late Monday, accusing the online article of deliberately misinterpreting Motegi's statement to manipulate public opinion for political purpose.

- focustaiwan.tw