In a fresh protest against China, Japan has urged Beijing to immediately stop unannounced geographical research it is conducting in Tokyo's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Pacific, a top government spokesman said yesterday. \nThe Japanese government lodged the protest through diplomatic channels on Tuesday night soon after confirming that a Chinese ship was conducting research off Japan's southernmost island Okinotorishima, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said. \nThe new diplomatic clash comes less than a month after Japan protested a brief incursion by a Chinese submarine into Japanese waters. \nThe incursion put Japan's navy on alert, though officials in Tokyo said later that Beijing had apologized for the incident. \nHosoda told reporters yesterday that the Chinese ship's activity near the southern island, made without prior notification to Japan, was "extremely regrettable." \nThere had been no reply from China over Japan's protest as of yesterday morning, he said. \n"It is important to abide by the rules, since both sides have agreed not to engage in a sea confrontation, but cooperation," Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters Wednesday morning. \nJapan and China, East Asia's two most powerful countries, have had persistent tensions. The two are squabbling over interpretations of World War II history, the ownership of East China Sea islands and nearby natural gas fields. \nA reconnaissance aircraft belonging to Japan's Maritime Self Defense Forces (MSDF) spotted the Chinese survey ship, the Kexue Yihao, in waters about 320km south of Okinotorishima at around 8pm Tuesday, said MSDF spokesman Taijiro Omata. \nThat location would be just barely inside Japan's exclusive economic zone. \nChinese vessels are required to notify Japan two months prior to conducting research in the zone, but the ship has not complied and has indicated it plans to stay on, Omata. \nOkinotorishima, Japan's southernmost island, is located 1,730km southeast of Tokyo. \nThe tiny island is comprised of two outcroppings, which have been significantly fortified with concrete against the encroaching waves. \nChina has argued that the islands are only rocks, and therefore do not qualify as territory that Japan can use to extend its economic zone. \nWithout the outcroppings, Japan's zone would be reduced by 400,000km2. \nJapan disputed China's characterization of the island. \n"We don't agree with that opinion," Hosoda said. \nJapanese aircraft continued to monitor activity by the 2,579 tonne Kexue Yihao, believed to be conducting maritime research by sending sound waves into the sea, Omata said. \nIt was the 34th maritime research by Chinese vessels conducted within Japan's 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and confirmed by MSDF aircraft this year so far, up sharply from eight cases confirmed the whole of last year, Omata said. \nIn 21 of the 34 cases, China conducted research within Japan's EEZ without notifying Japan in advance, Hosoda said.
PRIORITY GROUPS: A line of people were waiting at the Good Liver Clinic, apparently to get shots, while the CECC announced more priority groups for jabs The Taipei-based Good Liver Clinic is to be fined NT$2 million (US$72,028) after giving free COVID-19 vaccine shots to people not in groups eligible to receive them, Taipei Deputy Mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊) said yesterday. The Zhongshan District (中山)-based clinic was removed from the city’s list of vaccination venues and health officials would be investigated for giving 1,113 doses to the clinic, Huang told an afternoon news conference at Taipei City Hall. The Chinese-language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) on Tuesday in an exclusive story citing an anonymous tip reported that a Taipei clinic was doling out unused vaccines. People in
‘GOOD SIGN’: Thanks to public efforts, the number of COVID-19 cases is on a downward trend, the minister of health said, but told people not to let their guard down The COVID-19 situation appears to be relatively stable and on a downward trend, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday, as he reported 185 domestic COVID-19 cases and 15 deaths. “This seems to be a relatively good sign,” Chen, who heads the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), told a daily news briefing. In Taipei and New Taipei City, the overall situation seems to be heading in a good direction, he added. He attributed it to public efforts to control the spread of the virus, but warned people against letting their guard down. Of the new local cases, 83 are males and
PHASE 2: The firm’s CEO said that the results were good and the experimental vaccine safe, but added that hoped-for phase 3 trials would be expensive Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp (高端疫苗) yesterday reported positive results from an interim analysis of phase 2 trials for its COVID-19 vaccine, saying that the vaccine demonstrated high seroconversion rates and geometric mean titer (GMT) figures. A seroconversion rate is the percentage of participants in a trial displaying virus-specific immune memory after being given a vaccine, while the GMT measures the level of neutralizing antibody response, Medigen said. The experimental vaccine has a seroconversion rate of 99.8 percent and its GMT was 662 among the participants aged 20 to 89, while the gauges rose to 99.9 percent and 733 respectively in participants aged
ROLLING OUT DOSES: The expansion aims to speed up Taiwan’s vaccination drive by making more Moderna jabs available to workers at hospitals, the CECC said The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday expanded the eligibility for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to all healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers in the highest vaccine priority group. The center said that 75,000 doses of the vaccine — half of the first batch Taiwan has received — were on Wednesday distributed to hospitals across the nation with specialized COVID-19 rooms, negative pressure wards and testing services. Thus far, they had only been offered to frontline healthcare workers and non-healthcare workers at the designated hospitals, it said. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that the eligibility was