From Toyota to SoftBank, a slew of large companies in Japan will soon open COVID-19 vaccination sites for their employees — some as early as June 21 — following a decree by the government Wednesday, Ryusei Takahashi reports.

In fact, Toyota is already drawing on its workplace traditions of “just-in-time” and kaizen (improvement) to inject momentum into the public vaccine rollout in the Aichi city that bears the carmaker’s name, Kyodo reports.

Sources have also told Kyodo that students in Japan hoping to attend college abroad will be prioritized for shots ahead of the September semester, as some schools overseas require students to be inoculated before they can take part in in-person classes.

A nurse receives a vaccine dose on Sunday in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI
A nurse receives a vaccine dose on Sunday in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward. | RYUSEI TAKAHASHI

Students heading to Europe will be pleased to hear that the EU on Thursday added Japan to its short list of “safe” countries from which it will allow nonessential travel.

Taiwan, meanwhile, which is facing a COVID-19 resurgence, last week accused China of blocking supplies of vaccine to the island. To help ease the shortage, Japan plans to deliver about 1.24 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Taiwan on Friday.

Yesterday’s (and last Thursday’s) new COVID-19 cases nationwide: 2,831 (4,163). By prefecture (70 or over; bold indicates rise over last week): Tokyo 508 (684), Hokkaido 300 (570), Aichi 288 (394), Okinawa 244 (240), Osaka 226 (309), Kanagawa 215 (227), Saitama 122 (130), Fukuoka 102 (179), Chiba 99 (121), Gifu 71 (70), Hyogo 70 (162). Source: Japan COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker