TOKYO — Japan launched its coronavirus vaccination campaign Wednesday, months after other major economies started giving shots and amid questions about whether the drive would would reach enough people quickly enough to save a Summer Olympics already delayed by the pandemic.
Despite a recent rise in infections, Japan has largely dodged the kind of cataclysm that has battered other wealthy countries’ economies, social networks and health care systems. But the fate of the Olympics, and the billions of dollars at stake, makes Japan’s vaccine campaign crucial. Japanese officials are also well aware that rival China, which has had success beating back the virus, will host the Winter Olympics next year, heightening the desire to make the Tokyo Games happen.
Japan’s rollout lagged behind other places because it asked vaccine maker Pfizer to conduct clinical trials with Japanese people, in addition to tests already conducted in six other nations — part of an effort to address worries in a country