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The government will create a new agency to manage its response to infectious disease outbreaks and merge two state research institutes to create a Japanese version of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced Wednesday.

The new agency, to be created under the Cabinet Secretariat, is aimed at streamlining the government’s handling of COVID-19 to better prepare for future public health crises, he said.

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