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Opinion: Japan, US joint efforts against coronavirus aiding global battle vs pandemic

  • April 19, 2020
  • , The Mainichi
  • English Press
In this 60th year of the U.S.-Japan alliance, our cooperative relationship has become an important asset in our two countries’ respective efforts to address the mounting challenges of COVID-19. Just as we received Japanese help with the repatriation of American passengers from the Diamond Princess and the hospitalization of those infected on the vessel, so too the United States has recently helped with the return of Japanese citizens from several countries. This is just one example, however, of the ways that we, as allies, are continuing to leverage our combined capabilities to prevail in this unprecedented situation.
 

Innovative Japanese and American pharmaceutical companies are conducting joint trials on potential treatments for coronavirus. In March, a Japanese medical institution joined clinical trials of Remdesivir, a medication from a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company. Meanwhile, Fujifilm has recently been approved to conduct trials in American hospitals for its antiviral drug, Avigan. While it will take more time to determine the efficacy of drug treatments, our work together holds forth the hope of good news.

 

There has also been a groundswell of collaboration in the manufacturing sector. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan have announced plans to deploy 3D printing machinery in their American factories to produce face shields and their component parts. At the end of March, JR Automation partnered with General Motors to construct a face mask production line in a mere six days, allowing GM to produce 50,000 masks a day. Moreover, U.S.-based firm American Air Filter, owned by Daikin Industries, recently dispatched a shipment of high-performance filters bound for hospitals and clean rooms in New York.

 

Communications technology has also performed a critical role amid the need for social distancing. U.S.-developed applications from Google, Apple, and Microsoft have led the way, enabling telework at firms in both our countries, and helping to connect family and friends. As another example, Salesforce provided a free cloud service to Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, to help the city respond to citizen inquiries about the virus.

 

In sum, as COVID-19 continues to confront the world with challenges of incredible complexity and scope, Japan and the United States will continue to respond by working together and with our international partners. Just as the U.S.-Japan alliance promotes peace and stability, our collaborative endeavor to defeat the virus is yielding significant contributions to global health and safety.

 

(By Joseph Young, Charge d’Affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy Tokyo)

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