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Public Seminar | Game Changers—Japanese Innovations in Combatting Infectious Diseases

March 14, 2023
Public Seminar | Game Changers—Japanese Innovations in Combatting Infectious Diseases

The Friends of the Global Fund, Japan (FGFJ), in collaboration with the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund), held a hybrid seminar, “Game Changers—Japanese Innovation in Combatting Infectious Diseases” on Wednesday, March 1, 2023. The seminar convened on the occasion of a visit to Japan by Mr. Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (The Global Fund).

Ending the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria is one of the objectives set forth in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the current challenging operating environment created by conflicts, crises, and natural/climate disasters have triggered the reversal of progress against these diseases, making it vital that we get back on track to achieve the SDGs target by 2030. An important key to this is new technologies that will be “game changers.” Whether it is more effective ways to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases, diagnostics that more accurately and easily detect infections, more effective and appropriate treatments, or means to strengthen the pharmaceutical supply chain, innovations in technology will bring about products that are different from what we have seen in the past and can significantly change the course of the fight against infectious diseases.

In this seminar, the Executive Director of the Global Fund, Peter Sands, and the Senior Technical Manager of Unitaid’s Strategy Team, Carmen Pérez Casas, introduced the challenges that need to be solved in the fight against infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries and the process by which the needed products reach the people on the ground. This was followed by a panel discussion in which Mr. Sands was joined by the CEO of the GHIT Fund, Dr. Osamu Kunii, as well as Japanese business leaders and researchers to talk about the current status and potential of product development and discuss ways to accelerate innovation from Japan. Panelists included Dr. Seiya Kato, director of the Research Institute of Tuberculosis, Yoshihiro Okada, general manager of the In Vitro Diagnostics Division/Medical Systems Development Division at Fujifilm, Masanori Kawasaki, project leader of the Tuberculosis Project at Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Shigeyuki Kano, director of the National Center for Global Health and Medicine, and Yosuke Kaneko, CEO of SORA Technology.


Date and Time: Wednesday, March 1, 2023, 16:00–18:00 JST (UTC+9)

Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE)
Friends of the Global Fund, Japan (FGFJ)
Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund)

Format: Hybrid in-person and online participation

  • In Person: Sirius, Garden Court Banquet Floor (5F), Hotel New Otani Tokyo (4-1 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-8578)
  • Online: Live-streamed on YouTube

Languages: Japanese and English (simultaneous interpretation was provided)

Opening Session

Opening Remarks

Akio Okawara, President & CEO, JCIE; Director, FGFJ

Ichiro Aisawa, Member, House of Representatives; Co-Chair, FGFJ Advisory Board & Diet Task Force

Discussion Session: Challenges and Innovation to End Epidemics
Peter Sands, Executive Director, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Mihoko Kashiwakura, Head of East Asia Relations, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation [interviewer]

Special Remarks: Partnership for Equitable Access
Keiichi Hara, Director-General, International Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA); Board Member of the Global Fund; Board Member of Unitaid

Carmen Pérez Casas, Senior Technical Manager, Strategy Team, Unitaid

Panel Discussion

Topic: Deploying Game-Changing Innovation on the Ground

Osamu Kunii, CEO, GHIT Fund (moderator)

Seiya Kato, Director, Research Institute of Tuberculosis, Japan Anti-Tuberculosis Association (JATA)

Yoshihiro Okada, General Manager,  In Vitro Diagnostics Division, FujiFilm Corporation

Masanori Kawasaki, Global Project Leader, Anti-Tuberculosis Project, Pharmaceutical Division, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Shigeyuki Kano, Director, Department of Tropical Medicine and Malaria, Research Institute, National Center for Global Health and Medicine (NCGM)

Yosuke Kaneko, Founder & CEO, SORA Technology

Peter Sands, Executive Director, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Closing Remarks

Tetsuya Itani, Director of the International Health and Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW)

*MC: Hiromi Kawano, Program Associate, JCIE

as of February 13, 2023; content is subject to change without notice