Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi pledged Wednesday to disburse $1 million (¥106 million) through a new fund aimed at assisting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations' response to the novel coronavirus pandemic through the procurement of medical supplies and the development of vaccines.

In a virtual meeting with counterparts from the 10-member ASEAN, China and South Korea, Motegi also said Japan will provide Southeast Asian countries with health care equipment and extend emergency yen loans to help their post-pandemic economic recovery, according to the Foreign Ministry.

China and South Korea have also pledged to contribute to the fund, which currently totals $2.3 million, with the amount expected to increase, a ministry official said.