Japan will provide 30 million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine to other countries as part of international efforts to ensure fair access to the life-saving shots, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Thursday.
The pledge, made at a virtual summit on the pandemic hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden, brings Japan's total commitments to 60 million doses.
Japan has already delivered more than 23 million domestically-made doses of AstraZeneca Plc's COVID-19 vaccine, about half of which were sent directly to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
The other half were distributed through the COVAX Facility, a U.N.-backed program providing shots to poor countries, for which Japan has also pledged $1 billion in funding.
According to the Foreign Ministry, that makes Japan the world's third-largest contributor of doses as of September, behind the United States and China and ahead of India and Britain.
Suga said Japan has been helping other countries shore up their coronavirus response by supplying oxygen concentrators and ventilators and "will continue such assistance in order to overcome this public health crisis."
Japan has also focused on "Last One Mile Support," which includes providing refrigerated trucks and other cold chain equipment necessary to distribute vaccines to remote areas.