Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed Thursday to deepen cooperation in tackling the challenges posed by the global coronavirus pandemic, including the development of an effective vaccine.
During a virtual summit, Abe and Merkel also vowed to work together toward a successful Group of Seven summit, which is expected to be held from late August to early September in the United States, according to the Japanese government.
Abe told Merkel that Japan will contribute to the development and distribution of vaccines through the so-called ACT-Accelerator, a senior Japanese government official said.
The ACT-Accelerator is a recently launched collaborative framework led by the World Health Organization to speed up the development and distribution of treatment drugs and vaccines for COVID-19.
The prime minister also said Tokyo is seeking to improve the health care system in developing countries, including in Africa, and Merkel responded that Germany wants to work with Japan to that end, the official said.
U.S. President Donald Trump initially wanted to hold the in-person gathering in the United States in late June, but Merkel was reluctant to attend amid the pandemic. The other G7 members are Britain, Canada, France and Italy plus the European Union.
During Thursday’s 35-minute talks, Merkel asked Abe to ease travel restrictions imposed amid the virus outbreak and the Japanese leader said Tokyo will consider resuming travel gradually after taking into account the infection situation, according to the Japanese official.
Japan has an extensive entry ban on travelers from 129 countries and regions including Germany.
Earlier in the month, the European Union lifted travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic for Japan and 13 other nations.
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