At a January 26 press conference, former Prime Minister Kan discussed the recent Japanese Cabinet decision to contribute approximately US$340 million to the Global Fund for 2012, pending approval by the Diet. This is by far the largest contribution from Japan to the Global Fund in a single year. It will come as part of the US$800 million “Kan Commitment” that was announced at the UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals in New York in September 2010.
Prime Minister Kan spoke about this positive step at a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos alongside Bill Gates, who also announced a major new commitment by the Gates Foundation to the Global Fund. This news comes at a critical time for the fight against communicable diseases, as countries struggling to deal with the European financial crisis and the global economic slump are finding it difficult to maintain their commitment levels.
While Japan still faces monumental challenges at home following the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, the current contribution demonstrates Japan’s ongoing strong commitment to the Global Fund and the fight against communicable diseases. Japan is considered by many to be the birthplace of the Global Fund because it was at the 2000 G8 Summit in Okinawa that global leaders made their historic commitment to creating the fund. This year, the Global Fund celebrates the 10th anniversary of its founding, so Japan funding increase and its sustained commitment to be a key player in the global fight against communicable diseases holds special significance.
NOTE: The amount to be contributed for 2012 is based on Cabinet budget proposal for a total of 29.5 billion yen, including appropriations requested FY 2012 regular budget and the fourth FY2011 supplementary budget currently before the Diet.