Japan OKs nationwide bookings for mass vaccinations in Tokyo, Osaka

Kyodo -- Jun 10
Japan widened its scope to allow elderly people nationwide to book coronavirus vaccinations at state-run mass vaccination centers in Tokyo and Osaka, the government said Thursday.

The move to expand the target areas from seven prefectures in the Tokyo and Kansai areas comes as part of efforts to accelerate the country's inoculation drive. Many slots still remain vacant at the large-scale sites.

The development comes after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday he aims to finish vaccinating Japan's population against COVID-19 by November.

The government is planning to keep the venues open beyond the initially set end date of late August to achieve the goal, with the Tokyo venue already set for an extension.

To fill the vacant slots, the government will start accepting reservation requests by phone from 7 a.m. Saturday as well, the Defense Ministry said. The venues run by Self-Defense Forces personnel currently accept bookings from Tokyo, Osaka and neighboring prefectures.

Currently, the venues only accept online reservations via the ministry's website and the Line messaging app.

- Kyodo