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Japan has bolstered its arsenal as it races to catch up to other developed nations and inoculate its citizens against COVID-19 amid a fourth wave of infections. The Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines are finally getting the green light from the health ministry Friday, writes Osamu Tsukimori.

And if the country needs a fourth shot in its armory, Russia stands ready to begin supplying the Sputnik V vaccine, its ambassador to Tokyo said Thursday — all Japan needs do is respond to an earlier offer from Moscow.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the rollout to younger age groups, some companies in Japan are introducing arrangements to enable employees to take paid time off to receive COVID-19 vaccines and deal with any potential side effects.

The Moderna vaccine will be used at state-run mass inoculation centers in Tokyo and Osaka. | REUTERS
The Moderna vaccine will be used at state-run mass inoculation centers in Tokyo and Osaka. | REUTERS

With this sudden outbreak of good news on the vaccine front — the country just administered 1.3 million doses in three days — some market analysts are expecting the slow-vaccination narrative to shift, Bloomberg reports, and stocks to rise.

Staying on a positive tip, Fujifilm said Tuesday it can develop detection kits for new variants of COVID-19 in about a month, and it already has one that can identify the dreaded Indian strain. Days earlier, Shimadzu Corp. said it plans to put a PCR reagent that can detect the India variant on sale in June.

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