December 7, 2023

Japan’s vaccination efforts are now picking up steam after a slow start, and that’s good news for retailers, said EY’s Nobuko Kobayashi.

“Vaccination is finally picking up speed in Japan. The government says anyone who wants to get vaccinated can be out by October-November, “Kobayashi, Asia-Pacific director of strategy implementation at EY, told CNBC’s Street Signs Asia on Friday. .

Looking ahead, the near-term milestone will be when vaccination adoption in Japan reaches a level where “everyone is comfortable going out,” she said. Kobayashi said the consumption outlook is positive on balance, even taking into account concerns about Covid variants like Delta.

After a slow introduction at the beginning of the year, vaccination rates in Japan have increased significantly in recent weeks. According to Our World in Data, the daily administered Covid-19 vaccine doses even exceeded the million mark in June.

Japan’s doses per 100 people averaged 0.77 in the seven days leading up to July 1, according to Our World in Data. This is higher than the 0.48 and 0.32 doses per 100 in the UK and US over the same period.

Still, only 12.65% of the Japanese population is fully vaccinated against Covid compared to the UK and US, which both vaccinated more than 40% of their populations. In 2020, Japan had a population of more than 125.83 million, according to the World Bank.

Olympia “positive” for Japanese retail

Japan is only a few weeks away from hosting the Summer Olympics, but Tokyo Prefecture remains subject to priority measures to limit the spread of the virus. Some aspects of the games remain undecided. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said Thursday that they could be held without a spectator, according 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 excluded from the Games.

In the short term, the demand for products such as high definition televisions could increase. Meanwhile, a successful Olympics will “increase the attractiveness of Japan” as an international travel destination in the long term, she said.

“This is great news for incoming tourism and consumption,” said Kobayashi.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics owns the U.S. broadcast rights to all Summer and Winter Games through 2032.