Japan

We work with various sectors in Japan, including the Government of Japan, private companies, nongovernmental organizations, universities, and other partners to advance solutions to health and development challenges faced by people in the world’s poorest countries.
A health care worker prepares a malaria medication at a health center in Zambia.
A health care worker prepares a malaria medication at a health center in Zambia.

At a glance

  • Japan is a major donor to global health and development efforts, including to multilateral organizations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The Government of Japan has also supported and made investments in COVID-19 vaccine development and response.
  • We work with various sectors and leaders in Japan to deliver innovative solutions to global health and development challenges such as vaccine delivery, infectious disease containment and response, water and sanitation, and nutrition.
  • Together with the Government of Japan and Japanese companies, we developed the world’s first-ever public-private global health R&D fund, the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund. GHIT is a public-private partnership that directs Japanese innovation and investment toward developing health technologies and solutions that can benefit low- and middle-income countries.

Overview

Japan is the world’s fourth-largest donor of development aid, and is likely to play an increasingly important role in global health following the response to the pandemic. We value our trusted partnership with the Government of Japan that champions Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and the private sector of Japan who continue to develop cutting edge technology and innovation.

In 2013, the foundation, the Government of Japan, and several Japanese pharmaceutical companies launched the Global Health Innovative Technology (GHIT) Fund, a public-private partnership that creates new drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics for malaria, tuberculosis, and neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This innovative model has been replicated by other countries who are also committed to developing new health technologies that can benefit the low- and middle-income countries.

Our collaborations in Japan range across various sectors and partners, including our polio eradication loan with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and product developments with companies such as LIXIL which created the affordable and innovative toilet, SATO. We also supported the launch of WELCO Lab for Global Health, a platform of companies that are committed to delivering solutions to tackle global health challenges, together with Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting (MURC). We work with many NGOs including Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), SDGs Promise Japan, Results Japan, and ETIC.

In 2020, the Government of Japan made investments in COVID-19 vaccine development and response. It was the first high-income country to join the COVAX initiative, which is working with vaccine manufacturers to provide equitable global access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines for both rich and poor countries.

Japan’s role in international development involves actors across the Government of Japan, the private sector, academia, civil society partners, and dedicated individuals. With the Reiwa era’s motto of “beautiful harmony” in mind, there is an opportunity for all sectors in Japan to make further impact in the field of global health, to realize a world where every citizen has access to affordable healthcare and can fulfill a happy life.
Mihoko Kashiwakura
Head of East Asia Relations, Global Policy and Advocacy
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

More about our work in Japan

Our story

Learn about the origins of the foundation and the values that drive our work.

Ideas
Read the latest stories, research, and news from across the foundation and subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Optimist.