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Abe stresses need to review WHO’s handling of virus in “fair, independent manner”

Saturday’s Yomiuri and Sankei took up remarks made on an Internet program on Friday by Prime Minister Abe. He reportedly commented on the World Health Assembly that will begin on Monday via videoconference, indicating that Japan will join hands with European and other partners in demanding a “fair, independent, and comprehensive examination” of the health watchdog’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We need to share information and insights on the infectious disease in a transparent and free manner,” said the premier. “There have been problems with this aspect this time.” He went on to say: “There is no question that the virus spread from China…. As China is hoping to be a major player in the international community, there is a growing likelihood that it will support” such an examination.


Sunday’s Mainichi and Sankei wrote that the GOJ and the EU are likely to submit a joint motion during the upcoming World Health Assembly calling for an independent inquiry into the organization’s initial response with the aim of increasing its operational transparency.


Meanwhile, the Saturday editions of Asahi and Yomiuri spotlighted a joint communique released on Friday following a videoconference between the health ministers of Japan, China, and South Korea. They reportedly expressed “support for the WHO’s mission of coordinating international efforts to deal with the pandemic.” The participants also reportedly agreed to “enhance trilateral solidarity, cooperation, and mutual support” to rein in the new coronavirus.


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