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Japan reaches 50% milestone in vaccination drive

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Japan’s government says more than 50% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

Japan’s vaccine rollouts began in mid-February, months behind many wealthy countries due to its lengthy clinical testing requirement and approval process.

Inoculations for elderly patients, which started in April, were also slowed by supply shortages of imported vaccines, but the pace picked up in late May and has since achieved one million doses per day.

The country’s economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is in charge of Covid-19 measures, told NHK public television’s weekly talk show Sunday that about 60% of the population is expected to be fully vaccinated by the end of September, on par with current levels in Europe.

The government is studying a road map for easing restrictions around November.

That would allow fully vaccinated people and those who test negative to travel, gather for parties or attend mass events.

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