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[Event Report] Antimicrobial Resistance: A Future Global Health Crisis (January 13, 2022)

[Event Report] Antimicrobial Resistance: A Future Global Health Crisis (January 13, 2022)

On January 13, 2022, AMR Alliance Japan (Secretariat: Health and Global Policy Institute) hosted a roundtable discussion to examine the outlook for enhanced action on AMR in the future and to share information on the state of global action on AMR, including international cooperation efforts out of Japan.

After opening remarks from Professor Keizo Takemi (Member, House of Councillors / Goodwill Ambassador, Universal Health Coverage (UHC), WHO), presentations were given by Dr. Liz Tayler (Technical Officer, Tripartite Joint Secretariat, WHO), Dr. Motoyuki Sugai (Director, Antimicrobial Resistance Research Center, National Institute of Infectious Diseases), and Ms. Nobuko Ichikawa (Senior Environmental Advisor, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)). The presentations were followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session.

Key takeaways from the discussion were as follows:

  1. AMR threatens to turn back progress made in modern medicine during the 20th century.
  2. Alongside climate change, AMR is a problem that will have an overreaching impact on societies and economies. The challenge facing the world right now is how to warn everybody of the danger posed by this ‘silent pandemic.’
  3. The international community is coming together for action against AMR. This problem must stay near the top of global policy agendas.
  4. Implementing countermeasures in the most vulnerable countries will be essential for global infectious disease control. As a world leader in international cooperation and development support, Japan has a key role to play in enhancing global health systems, starting with those in Asia.

More information regarding the background of this meeting and these key points is provided below.

Please note that this summary report was created by the meeting organizer based on the discussion and should not be taken to represent the views of any individual roundtable participant. Individual participation in this meeting should not be considered a cosponsorship or endorsement of the meeting, or the views expressed at the meeting or in this report.


The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) reminded the world how challenging and harmful infectious diseases can be. It also highlighted how interconnected infectious disease countermeasures are across the world. Domestic decisions in individual countries about how to react to the disease have had a profound impact on issues such as the emergence of new disease variants, the ability of different countries to access treatments and vaccines, and socioeconomic activities globally. Infectious disease crises truly are problems that we cannot tackle alone. The world needs continued international cooperation to ensure that we can recover from this pandemic, and be even more prepared for the next crisis.

There is little time to waste on efforts to strengthen global infectious disease countermeasures, because it is quite possible that the next infectious disease crisis is already here in Antimicrobial resistance (AMR). AMR is a naturally occurring process by which the microbes that cause infectious disease grow resistant to treatments over time. This problem already claims the lives of 70,000 people worldwide every year. In Japan, it is estimated to contribute to the deaths of 8,000 people annually – more than double the number of annual traffic deaths. If the world does not take serious steps to address this problem, it is estimated that by 2050, as many as 10 million people could be dying of AMR-related causes every year globally. It is thought that 40% of those deaths will occur in Asia. It is imperative that the countries of the region come together to make sure that does not happen.

Japan has always been a global leader in international cooperation, particularly in the field of health, where it has worked to make a proactive contribution to peace through strong advocacy for issues such as human security and the achievement of universal health coverage. According to statistics published by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee, Japan ranks fourth in the world in terms of donor assistance for health, spending ¥102.7 billion in 2018.

With COVID-19 having demonstrated the enormous impact that infectious disease crises can have our societies and the achievement of development goals, the time is right to reconsider global health priorities and how an infectious disease problem like AMR fits into that. The world’s defenses against the failure of infectious disease treatments due to AMR in the future are only as strong as the weakest policy infrastructure of any single country. Greater international cooperation for health system strengthening and health security is crucial to the protection of people the world over from this problem.

In light of the above issues, this seminar brought together experts from the fields of infectious disease, health governance, and financing to share information on the state of global action on AMR, including international cooperation efforts out of Japan. Participants discussed the outlook for enhanced action in the future, and how AMR might fit into Japan’s global health agenda. 

■ Overview
Date and time: Thursday, January 13, 2022; 18:00-19:30
Format: Online using the Zoom conferencing system
Host: AMR Alliance Japan / Health and Global Policy Institute (HGPI)
Languages: English and Japanese (simultaneous interpretation will be provided)
Participation fee: Free


18:00-18:05  Welcome and Introduction
 Matt McEnany (Senior Manager, Health and Global Policy Institute / AMR Alliance Japan)

18:05-18:10  Opening Remarks
 Keizo Takemi (Member of the House of Councillors)

18:10-18:20  Presentation: A Global Viewpoint – What the WHO is Doing to Support the Fight against AMR
 Liz Tayler (Technical Officer, Tripartite Joint Secretariat, WHO)

18:20-18:30  Presentation: An Example of Ongoing International Cooperation Supported by Japan – AMR Surveillance
 Motoyuki Sugai (Director, Antimicrobial Resistance Research Center, National Institute of Infectious Diseases)

18:30-18:40  Presentation: Investing for AMR-resilient Development – EBRD’s Approach to Address AMR
 Nobuko Ichikawa (Senior Environmental Advisor, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development)

18:40-19:30 Panel Discussion / Q&A

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