Okinawa prefecture has halted Moderna vaccinations after unknown materials were found in a vial of the drug. The move comes after Japan pulled 1.6 million Moderna doses from a different batch over contamination concerns.
Black substances were discovered in syringes and a vial, while unidentified pink substances were spotted in a different syringe with a Moderna vaccine dose, according to Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK.
Okinawa’s government said in a statement on Sunday that it was suspending the use of Moderna vaccines after “foreign substances were spotted in some of them.”
Takeda Pharmaceutical, Japan’s domestic distributor of the Moderna shot, is expected to probe whether the suspected contamination occurred during production and will consult with the health ministry on the matter, NHK reported.
Japan has suspended the use of about 1.63 million doses of the Moderna vaccine due to contamination.
The health ministry said “foreign materials” were found in some doses of a batch of roughly 560,000 vials.
Takeda Pharmaceutical, which sells and distributes the vaccine in Japan, said Moderna had put three batches on hold “out of an abundance of caution”.
It said an issue at a manufacturing contract site in Spain was the likely cause, but did not elaborate.
“To date, no safety or efficacy issues have been identified,” Moderna said, adding that it would work with regulators and Takeda to investigate the matter further.
There are no details of what the “foreign objects” are, but Takeda described it as particulate matter, after which it said conducted an emergency examination.
The Tokyo Olympic organizing committee fired the director of the opening ceremony on Thursday because of a Holocaust joke he made during a comedy show in 1998.
Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto said a day ahead of the opening ceremony that director Kentaro Kobayashi has been dismissed. He was accused of using a joke about the Holocaust in his comedy act, including the phrase “Let’s play Holocaust.”
“We found out that Mr. Kobayashi, in his own performance, has used a phrase ridiculing a historical tragedy,” Hashimoto said. “We deeply apologize for causing such a development the day before the opening ceremony and for causing troubles and concerns to many involved parties as well as the people in Tokyo and the rest of the country.”
Protocol for UFOs? That’s exactly what Defense Minister Taro Kono ordered the Self-Defense Forces to follow Monday as he issued standing orders for dealing with unidentified aerial objects that could pose a threat to Japan’s security.
In a statement, Kono asked SDF members to record and photograph any such objects that they encounter or that enter Japanese airspace and to take steps for the “necessary analysis” of the sightings, including information provided separately by the public.
While the Defense Ministry says there have been no known cases of the SDF encountering UFOs, the latest move comes after the U.S. Defense Department established a special Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force last month in order “to improve its understanding of, and gain insight into, the nature and origins” of the objects and other phenomena.
The Pentagon also released videos in April that were taken in 2004 and 2015, including one that showed an elliptical flying object that demonstrated unseen levels of speed and maneuverability.
Kono said after the videos’ release that he does not believe in UFOs.
Every year during the first two weeks of August the mass news media and many politicians at the national level trot out the “patriotic” political myth that the dropping of the two atomic bombs on Japan in August of 1945 caused them to surrender, and thereby saved the lives of anywhere from five hundred thousand to 1 million American soldiers, who did not have to invade the islands. Opinion polls over the last fifty years show that American citizens overwhelmingly (between 80 and 90 percent) believe this false history which, of course, makes them feel better about killing hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians (mostly women and children) and saving American lives to accomplish the ending of the war.