TOKYO, March 9 (Kyodo News) - Japan will provide 4.5 billion yen ($41 million) grant aid through an international organization to 25 countries in Asia and the Pacific Islands region to help them build a cold-chain distribution network for COVID-19 vaccines, the Foreign Ministry said Tuesday.
The grant aid will be used to secure cold-storage facilities, transport vehicles and other equipment necessary for the stable delivery of vaccines in those countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand, according to the ministry.
Japan aims to help ensure the delivery of vaccines "to each and every person in the all corners of developing countries" with the hope of containing the coronavirus pandemic as quickly as possible, it said, adding the aid will be delivered through the United Nations Children's Fund.
The other recipient countries are Bhutan, Brunei, Cambodia, the Cook Islands, East Timor, Fiji, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Niue, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Sri Lanka, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Vietnam.
Japan has also pledged $200 million to the COVAX facility, an international vaccine distribution platform set up to ensure equitable access to shots for developing countries.
The COVAX initiative aims to deliver 2 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines across the world by the end of 2021.