Japan’s vaccination efforts are gaining some momentum now after a slow start, and that’s good news for retailers, EY’s Nobuko Kobayashi said.
“The vaccine is finally gaining momentum in Japan. The government says that everyone who wants to be vaccinated can do so in October, November,” Kobayashi, Asia-Pacific strategy execution lead at EY, told “Street Signs Asia “from CNBC on Friday.
Looking ahead, the short-term milestone will be whether the deployment of vaccination in Japan reaches a level where “everyone feels comfortable going out again,” he said. Kobayashi said the overall consumer outlook is positive, even taking into account concerns about Covid variants like delta.
After a slow launch at the beginning of the year, vaccination rates in Japan have risen substantially in recent weeks. Daily doses of Covid-19 vaccine administered even crossed the million mark in June, according to Our World in Data.
Japan’s doses per 100 people averaged 0.77 for the seven days ending July 1, according to Our World in Data. That’s higher than the doses of 0.48 and 0.32 per 100 in the UK and the US, respectively, during the same period.
Still, only 12.65% of Japan’s population has been fully vaccinated against Covid, compared to the UK and the US, which have inoculated more than 40% of their population. In 2020, Japan had a population of more than 125.83 million, according to World Bank data.
Japan is just weeks away from hosting the Summer Olympics, but Tokyo prefecture remains under priority measures aimed at limiting the spread of the virus. Some aspects of the games remain undecided. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that could be held without spectatorsaccording to local news agency Kyodo News.
Still, EY’s Kobayashi said the Olympics are likely to have a “positive impact” on Japan’s retail landscape, even if viewers are unable to participate in the games.
In the short term, he said products such as high-definition televisions could see an increase in demand. Meanwhile, a successful Olympic Games “will increase Japan’s attractiveness” as a long-term international travel destination, he said.
“This is great news for inbound tourism and consumption,” Kobayashi said.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal, parent of CNBC, owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the US broadcast rights holder for all Summer and Winter Games through 2032.