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Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said Monday that Japan’s private sector may be unable to provide funds to a global anti-epidemics fund due to the prolonged economic slump, according to Foreign Ministry officials.

Kawaguchi’s remark came during a meeting with Richard Feachem, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), an independent public-private partnership working to increase funding to fight infectious diseases, the officials said.

However, Kawaguchi reassured Feachem that the Japanese government will continue with its provision of funds, keeping to an earlier pledge of providing $200 million to the GFATM. Feachem said the GFATM will be in a tight situation in terms of financing by around the middle of next year, and called for continued funding from both the public and private sectors in Japan.

The objective of the Geneva-based fund is to support efforts in prevention, treatment, and support of those affected by the diseases.

Feachem is on a six-day visit to Japan through Wednesday to raise financial support for the GFATM.

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