Japan’s vaccination efforts are gaining momentum now after a slow start, and that’s good news for retailers, EY’s Nobuko Kobayashi said.
“Vaccination, finally, is gaining momentum in Japan. Government says anyone who wants to be vaccinated can be by October, November,” Kobayashi, head of strategy execution, said on Friday. Asia-Pacific at EY, at CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia”. .
Going forward, the short-term milestone will be if the vaccination rollout in Japan reaches a level where “everyone feels comfortable going out again,” she said. Kobayashi said the outlook for overall consumption is positive, even taking into account concerns about Covid variants like the Delta.
After a slow rollout at the start of the year, vaccination rates in Japan have increased dramatically in recent weeks. The daily doses of the Covid-19 vaccine administered even crossed the million mark in June, according to Our World in Data.
Japan’s doses per 100 people reached an average of 0.77 for the seven days ending July 1, according to Our World in Data. This is higher than the 0.48 and 0.32 per 100 doses in the UK and US, respectively, over the same period.
Still, only 12.65% of the Japanese population has been fully vaccinated against Covid, compared to the UK and US which both have inoculated over 40% of their populations. In 2020, Japan had a population of over 125.83 million people, according to World Bank data.
Japan is only weeks away from hosting the Summer Olympics, but the Tokyo prefecture remains subject to priority measures designed to limit the spread of the virus. Some aspects of the games remain undecided. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Thursday that they could take place without spectators, according to the local Kyodo News agency.
Still, EY’s Kobayashi said the Olympics would likely have a âpositive impactâ on the retail landscape in Japan, even if spectators were excluded from the games.
In the short term, she said products like HDTVs could see an increase in demand. Meanwhile, a successfully executed Olympics “will increase the attractiveness of Japan” as a long-term international travel destination, she said.
âThis is great news for inbound tourism and consumption,â Kobayashi said.
Disclosure: CNBC’s parent company, NBCUniversal, owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the US licensee to broadcast all Summer and Winter Games until 2032.