Brunei receives 100,000 AZ vaccines from Japan

James Kon

Brunei Darussalam received 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines from the Government of Japan yesterday.

Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof received the vaccines on behalf of the Brunei Government from Ambassador of Japan to Brunei Darussalam Eiji Yamamoto at the Brunei International Airport last night.

The Japanese Ambassador expressed his respect to His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam for His Majesty’s astute leadership in the COVID-19 fight.

He also expressed gratitude to Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar, Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan, and officials from the Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Royal Brunei Airlines and Royal Brunei Technical Services for the cooperation.

“I am most grateful for the continued efforts and dedication of all frontliners including doctors, healthcare workers, soldiers and other essential workers in keeping us safe from this pandemic.

A total of 100,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines contributed by the Government of Japan to Brunei Darussalam arrived at Brunei International Airport last night. Photo shows Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erywan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof and Ambassador of Japan to Brunei Darussalam Eiji Yamamoto
An official and airport staff inspect the vaccines upon arrival. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

“No country is safe unless all countries are safe from it. With this belief, Japan has provided many countries with tens of millions of vaccines through COVAX or bilaterally, and we will expand our contribution. Tonight, I am honoured to handover 100,000 doses of hope, AstraZeneca, from Japan to Brunei Darussalam,” he said.

The vaccine donation, he said “is the latest symbol of the long-standing friendship between Japan and Brunei Darussalam. For over half a century, Brunei has been making significant contributions to the development of Japan’s economy through the supply of oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG).

“Even in our time of need, in the wake of the Great East Japan earthquake 10 years ago, Brunei Darussalam offered their generous support to the people of Japan – a gesture that we will never forget. Now, it is our turn to reciprocate the favour. I sincerely hope this vaccine donation will help the Bruneian people stay protected, and contribute to achieving Brunei’s vaccination goal.”

Besides the vaccines, Eiji Yamamoto said Japan also supplied 50,000 N95 masks, stockpiled by the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) and financed by Japan, as an in-kind contribution from the Japanese government. “In addition, Japan extends an Emergency Grant Aid of approximately USD800,000 to Brunei Darussalam including medical equipment through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). The supplies are expected to arrive by the end of the month,” he added.

“My full solidarity is with the Bruneian people during this time. Let us, the people of Japan and Brunei Darussalam, work together to overcome these unprecedented challenges and build a post-pandemic future. Terima Kasih,” the ambassador said.

According to the MFA, since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1984, Brunei Darussalam and Japan continue to share friendly relations in mutually beneficial areas, including energy, trade and investment, education, connectivity and people-to-people exchanges. On COVID-19 cooperation, Japan is also extending assistance in providing medical supplies and cold chain equipment through the Emergency Grant Aid in Improving Cold Chain initiative.

Both nations have maintained close cooperation on regional and international issues of mutual interest. As an important dialogue partner, Japan has reaffirmed strong commitment in strengthening the ASEAN-Japan Strategic Partnership. Japan is contributing USD1 million to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and USD50 million for the establishment of the ASEAN Centre for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases (ACPHEED).

Senior officials from the MFA, MoH and the Japanese Embassy in Brunei Darussalam were also present at the airport.