After a two-year absence due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Peter Sands, the executive director of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund), paid a visit to Japan on April 20–21. During his trip, Mr. Sands engaged in dialogue around key global health issues and took part in several important meetings and courtesy calls with Diet members, ministry officials, and other global health experts.
Mr. Sands began his visit with a dinner hosted by Hon. Keizo Takemi (Member of the House of Councillors) and attended by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. On April 21, Mr. Sands spoke to Diet members and other global health experts in a Friends of the Global Fund, Japan (FGFJ) Diet Task Force and Advisory Board meeting. A luncheon for Mr. Sands was held later in the day by the US Deputy Chief of Mission Raymond Greene at the US Embassy in Tokyo, noting the US’ leadership in supporting the Global Fund as the host of its upcoming Seventh Replenishment Conference in the Fall.
Throughout the two days, Mr. Sands also paid courtesy calls to a number of officials, including Hon. Natsuo Yamaguchi (Lead Representative, Komeito Party), Hon. Yoshimasa Hayashi (Japanese Minister for Foreign Affairs), and Hon. Seiji Kihara (Japanese Deputy Cabinet Secretary).
Key meeting topics throughout these discussions included:
- Universal health coverage (UHC)
- Pandemic preparedness
- Health systems strengthening
- The impact of the Ukraine & Afghanistan crises on infectious diseases
- The future of the Global Fund
- Japan’s role in global public health were all central in meeting topics
On the role of Japan, Mr. Sands offered the following remarks:
“I would like to thank the Government of Japan for its sustained, long-term, and outstanding financial and intellectual support. I would also like to pay tribute to Japan’s outstanding leadership on UHC. Japan is making a significant contribution to the fight against the three major infectious diseases not only through its financial and intellectual leadership, but also through its superior technological products. I look forward to more of Japan’s excellent products in the future.”