Japanese drugmakers are accelerating their development of vaccines for the novel coronavirus even as foreign rivals seem to be leading the global race, with the government pushing homegrown efforts to secure stable supplies.

Around 125 vaccine candidates are under development globally, including 10 at the human testing stage as of May 27, according to the World Health Organization. But given the expected surge in demand, the government is concerned that foreign vaccines could be limited in supply and not widely available for people in Japan.

"In terms of the need to secure the necessary volume, a vaccine produced domestically by a Japanese company is best," said an official of the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.