The Saturday editions of all national dailies reported that the GOJ officially decided on Friday on a policy to combat COVID-19 and other new infectious diseases and to establish a new organization modeled after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The paper said the new organization will be under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare, adding that in order for the ministry to focus on healthcare and welfare policies, MHLW organizations charged with environmental health will be transferred to other ministries or agencies. The paper said the GOJ has also formally decided to establish a new infectious disease management agency under the Cabinet Secretariat by combining the functions of the Cabinet Secretariat and the Health Ministry.
In a related story, Sunday’s Nikkei carried a report on its interview with CDC’s Chief Medical Officer Mitchell Wolfe, who disclosed that the CDC will open an office within the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo by the end of this year and work on building a system to monitor new infectious diseases in East Asia and the Pacific. Wolfe also reportedly expressed his willingness to cooperate in establishing a Japanese version of CDC. The paper said the U.S. and Japan will strengthen cooperation in the area of public health.