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Japan's AnGes continues surge as coronavirus vaccine candidate moves closer to human trials

The Japan Times

Shares in Japanese biopharma venture AnGes Inc. continued to surge Tuesday, as its much-hyped coronavirus vaccine candidate moved closer to starting human trials. Shares jumped as much as 19 percent in Tokyo trading, taking its gaining streak to a fourth day, after the Nikkei newspaper reported late Monday that it would begin clinical trials for its DNA vaccine in July, earlier than previously planned. The stock closed at the highest level since 2008. That report followed the announcement by AnGes that animal trials of the vaccine had confirmed an increase in antibodies in tests it had been conducting with Osaka University since March. "We will examine the results of the toxicity data and swiftly move forward to clinical trials," AnGes said in a statement Monday.

Carmakers extend Japan plant closures; Honda to furlough thousands in U.S.

The Japan Times

TOKYO/SOUTHFIELD, MICHIGAN – Toyota, Honda and and a slew of other automakers say plant suspensions will continue into May in light of the fall in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Toyota said Wednesday that all 15 of its domestic assembly plants will close on May 1 and May 11, both weekdays, while manufacturing lines at four plants in Aichi, Shizuoka and Iwate prefectures will be wholly or partially suspended from May 12 to May 18 at the longest. Daihatsu Motor Co. said it will halt its plants in Osaka and Kyoto prefectures for two to three days in May, with a plant in Shiga Prefecture making its mainstay Tanto minivehicle that was set to be closed through April 21 staying shut for three more days. Hino Motors Ltd. said it will close its plant in Hamura, Tokyo, on May 12. Suzuki Motor Corp., which began intermittently suspending its five domestic plants earlier this month, said it will extend a production freeze at two of the plants until April 28. Subaru Corp. will postpone the reopening of a plant in the U.S. state of Indiana to May 11.

Japan may expand areas covered by coronavirus state of emergency

The Japan Times

The government is considering expanding the list of prefectures covered by Japan's state of emergency declaration over the coronavirus outbreak, with Kyoto among the candidates, an official said Thursday. The expansion, also possibly including Hokkaido and Aichi, will be discussed later this week by a government panel of experts on communicable diseases, the official said. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last week issued the declaration for Tokyo, Osaka and five prefectures, prompting local authorities to ask residents to refrain from nonessential outings and some businesses to shut. The seven areas already covered by the declaration also include Kanagawa, Chiba, Saitama, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures. The idea of expanding the scope of the emergency declaration comes as the nation faces a continued rise in infections.

Japan to lift coronavirus state of emergency in 39 prefectures

The Japan Times

The government was on Thursday set to announce the lifting of its state of emergency for 39 of the nation's 47 prefectures more than two weeks ahead of its May 31 planned expiry as the spread of the new coronavirus eases in some areas. Economic revitalization minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Thursday morning that the government will lift the emergency in the 34 prefectures that have not been classified as areas needing "special caution." It will also be lifted in Ibaraki, Ishikawa, Gifu, Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures, he said. But Hokkaido, the Tokyo metropolitan area encompassing Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama, as well as Osaka and Hyogo and Kyoto will be kept under the state of emergency. Infectious disease and public health experts will analyze up-to-date data on the spread of the virus and the situation faced by hospitals.

40 prefectures in Japan to request business closures to fight pandemic

The Japan Times

Forty of the 47 prefectures have asked or plan to ask businesses to close to curb the coronavirus outbreak, a survey says. According to the survey, conducted by Jiji Press, 35 of the 40 have decided to provide support, including financial aid, to businesses that suspend operations. But the amount will differ from prefecture to prefecture, depending on their financial strength. Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture were the first to issue the requests, on April 11, four days after the central government put them under a state of emergency with five other prefectures reporting infection spikes -- Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka. The other five prefectures issued their requests days later.