• info@ajf.gr.jp
  • 〒110-0015 東京都台東区東上野1-20-6丸幸ビル3F















“No one is safe until everyone is safe!”

The Report of the Official Meeting between the Government of Japan and Civil Society to Submit the Request Letter to Support the WTO Intellectual Property Rights Waiver Proposal

“Equal Access to Health and Medical Services on COVID-19 for All” Japan Network had an official meeting with the Government of Japan (GoJ) and submitted the Civil Society Statement urging GoJ to support the proposal of temporary and partial waiver of intellectual property rights protection related to COVID-19, which was co-submitted by the 62 countries led by South Africa and India. The Director of Intellectual Property Division, Economic Bureau of MoFA, and Director for Intellectual Property of METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) attended the meeting.

148 organizations in total, including 115 organizations worldwide and 33 organizations of Japan, signed on the letter. We express our deep appreciation for all of you that supported our letter.

The following is the brief report of the meeting.

In the beginning of the meeting, civil society appreciated the Japanese Government for showing the leadership in hosting the COVAX AMC Summit on 2 June, and its announcement of an additional $800 million funding in support for COVAX-AMC and the donation of 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Also welcomed Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi’s positive remarks towards the discussion on the TRIPS waiver, and reiterated the call for Japan to support the waiver, and to cooperate for the process of text-based negotiation. Also stressed that while the equitable distribution of vaccines is an urgent issue at present, there is also continuing needs to address other medical tools including treatment and testing of COVID-19.

In response, the Government side confirmed, as Foreign Minister Motegi had said, it would participate in the discussions constructively and Japan would continue to be committed to increasing vaccine production and promoting fair distribution from the perspective of UHC, etc. Also said that not only the waiver but also other bottlenecks such as in COVAX, voluntary licensing and technology transfer need to be resolved.

The civil society side further suggested to consider a fundamental change on the idea of IP, such as establishing multi-stakeholder framework for sharing IP, with a view of future pandemic preparedness, e.g. citing the report of IPPPR (Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Responses). However, the ministries just repeated their traditional ideas, saying that no one can yet imagine a world without IP, and claiming the necessity of incentives for next round of R&D for future pandemics.

The following are the other conversations;

(1)The government side said that they do not know the content of the EU’s proposal for TRIPS, neither whether it would be really submitted or not. They are aware that there are some reports that it would be related to compulsory license but not have much info on the argument. (←MSF will send them its papers on CL)

(2)In response to the Government’s statement that voluntary licensing would be most desirable, CSO side asked whether any efforts were being made to seek cooperation from Japanese companies, and was told that this would be the responsibility of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

(3)Regarding the extension of the LDC transition period of TRIPs, the government said that Japan was in favor of the extension itself and would engage in discussions in a constructive manner.

>>Call for Supporting Organizations