Companies Vaccine Drive Hits Snag: This Week in Osaka: June 18th to 25th 2021

Each week, here at, we bring you a selection of some of the top stories about Osaka making the local and national news here in Japan. Sometimes it’s serious, sometimes it’s funny, but it’s always direct to you, from Osaka. companies vaccine

Here’s a look at some of the stories hitting the headlines in Osaka this week.

Companies Hit Vaccine Limit

The role of the private sector in accelerating Japan’s covid-19 vaccination drive took center stage this week, as a number of companies and universities began vaccinating staff. Authorities expect that this enthusiastic uptake from the private sector will add an additional 200,000 vaccines per day to the national total. Dozens of companies, and several universities in Osaka started vaccinations this week, in line with the government scheme.

This week, Japan finally surpassed Prime Minister Suga’s stated goal of delivering 1 million vaccines in a single day. However, the scheme to inoculate staff via their workplaces hit a snag this week.

On Wednesday, minister in charge of the vaccination program, Taro Kono, announced that the companies’ registration program is to be temporarily suspended. He said in a brief statement: “There are concerns that if we allow too many companies to register for vaccines we will have insufficient supply.”

As a result the companies’ registration scheme faces temporary suspension, with no word yet on when it will resume.

The government plans to use its stock of Moderna vaccines for the company driven vaccine drive. However, supplies of Moderna are more limited than that of Pfizer. The Pfizer vaccine remains the primary focus of the public side of Japan’s vaccine drive.

Companies Just One Part of a Bigger Picture

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However, Minister Kono was keen to point out that the private sector is just one facet of a countrywide drive. He reaffirmed that the government is on course to vaccinate all elderly citizens by the end of July. If the current daily numbers hold up, then we shouldn’t be too far away from hitting that goal. The wider goal of vaccinating everyone in Japan who wishes to be vaccinated by November is still some way off however.

Whilst vaccine hesitancy continues to decrease, latest polls show around 25% of those surveyed are unsure if they will get vaccinated or not. The emergence online of some wildly inaccurate viral videos, translated into Japanese, from various “anti-vax” groups in the US certainly hasn’t helped matters. Certainly more needs to be done in Japan to combat online deception in this regard. For their part, the government continues to step up their own information campaigns. However, with trust in Suga and his cabinet remaining generally low among the public, that may not be much help.

Man Arrested for Murder of Young Businesswoman

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Previously, we reported on the shocking and brutal murder of karaoke bar owner Mayuko Inada in Tenjinbashi, Kita Ward. Thankfully, the police acted swiftly in this case, and less than two weeks after the 25 year old’s body was discovered, an arrest has been made. The suspect is Hiroshi Miyamoto, a 56 year old company employee from Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture. Although married, Miyamoto was a regular at Ms Inada’s bar. Friends of Inada also claim he had been harassing her and making advances towards her for around 4 years. companies vaccine

So far, he has admitted attending the bar on June 11th, the night of Inada’s death, but denies killing her. Police however, think otherwise. They believe he attended the club, waiting until other patrons departed. He then stabbed Inada multiple times in the neck and chest, before taking the key to the venue and locking up as he left. The investigation continues.

And Finally…

Tigers: Deadly, yet adorable.

Some new arrivals brought some much needed joy and levity to Osaka this week. The re-opening of Tennoji Zoo on June 22nd, gave the public their first chance to see some fresh faces. companies vaccine

One popular new face was Ho-Chan, a polar bear cub born at the end of last year. With the zoo closed to visitors for an extended period, it seems many of the animal couples therein took full advantage of some private time. New additions to their leaf monkey and sea lion families were also on show for guests to see. Maybe it was just sentimentality, given the current difficult circumstances, but a number of visitors reported that the new arrivals looked “even cuter than we expected”.

The undoubted star of the show however was Fuu, an Amur Tiger cub. Fuu is 1 year old, however, he only arrived at the zoo in April, during its closure. He was actually born in another zoo in Akita. June 22nd marked his debut in front of an adoring Osaka public.

That’s all for now but be sure to check back again same time next week for another round of this week in Osaka!


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