On 19 October 2015, the Joint Programming on Antimicrobial Resistance voted in Japan, represented by the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) as its newest partner member. The initiative is now encompassing almost all G7 countries enabling close ties with the G7 goals and greater collaborative strength.

“We are pleased that JPIAMR has welcomed us as a partner. I am aware that AMR is a critical issue to be tackled globally and that the topic has been discussed at the recent G7 Health Ministers meeting. We hope to contribute to medical R&D solutions in this area by collaborating with the JPIAMR members,” says Dr. Makoto Suematsu, President of AMED.

Japan has an extensive track record in addressing antimicrobial resistance with initiatives such as their ‘area network for infection control’ which involves advanced hospitals and small hospitals, clinics and nursing care facilities which share best practices and educate each other through mutual site visits to promote infection control.

Another initiative, the Directly Observed Treatment Short-course (DOTS) prevent development of drug resistant tuberculosis. Due to the comprehensive DOTS program, the proportion of multi-drug resistant TB cases remains quite low at 0.7% among culture-positive cases in Japan.

“Japan has been mentioned as a best practice example for AMR stewardship amongst other things, in the G7 best AMR practice report. We are very pleased to welcome Japan as our newest partner member and look forward to learning from their experience as we move forward towards greater collaborative actions to reduce antimicrobial resistance” says Prof. Mats Ulfendahl, Management Board Chair of the Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance.

In the Japanese national fee schedule, incentives are given to promote prudent use of antibiotics. Also, many professional societies have their own certification programmes which contribute to antimicrobial stewardship and human resource development. In fact, Japan has dedicated the last decade to human resource development to promote antimicrobial stewardship. It is characterised by its inter-professional approach: good collaboration between health professionals is a key to its successful implementation.

Japan is embracing the One Health approach which is demonstrated by their guidelines of responsible and prudent use of antimicrobials in the livestock sector. As a complimentary action, the country has the Japanese Veterinary Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System (JVARM) to monitor the occurrence of antimicrobial resistance in bacteria in food-producing animals, and to monitor the quantities of antimicrobials used in animal. JVARM allows the efficacy of antimicrobials in food-producing animals to be determined, prudent use of such antimicrobials to be encouraged, and the effect on public health to be ascertained.

One of the core values of JPIAMR is the One Health approach and the initiative believe that the issue of AMR cannot be tackled by working in silos. Welcoming Japan as partner reinforces the initiative’s main aim to joins forces across nations to fight AMR through effective collaborative actions in areas of unmet needs.

Additional information:

About JPIAMR
JPIAMR joins forces to enable impactful collaborative actions in areas of unmet needs. A shared common research agenda enhances multi-disciplinary collaboration and ensures that knowledge gaps are quickly identified and filled.
The Joint Programming Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance provides a collaborative platform to take the AMR combat from awareness to action by supporting European research and facilitates its translation to industry and policy.
The reality of antimicrobial resistance is ‘no antibiotics – no cure’, even to simple infections. Without action we might face a situation in 2050 where 10 million people per year will die from AMR related problems. In addition, European AMR and more specifically anti-bacterial resistance [ABR] funding is skew towards research in therapeutics and national funding efforts are relatively small and targeted. For example, countries with low AMR [ABR] prevalence spend more on research suggesting a need for greater coordination across Europe. The only way to win the AMR battle is to look at the AMR in a holistic way, from diagnostics via the environment to interventions, and align resources to target neglected research domains.

About AMED
The Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) engages in research and development in the field of medicine, establishing and maintaining an environment for this R&D, and providing funding, in order to promote integrated medical R&D from basic research to practical applications, to smoothly achieve application of outcomes, and to achieve comprehensive and effective establishment / maintenance of an environment for medical R&D.

The role of AMED
Providing a one-stop service for research expenses, AMED consolidates budgets for research expenses, which had previously been allocated from different sources — the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. In addition to making possible an integrated approach to providing research funding and establishing / maintaining research environments, the unification of points of contact and procedures for research expenses can be expected to reduce the administrative burden on institutions and researchers receiving allocations for research expenses. AMED aims to achieve the world’s highest level of medical care / service and to form a society in which people live long, healthy lives by promoting integrated research and development, from basic research to practical application, and by establishing and maintaining an environment therefor, and linking this to various forms of growth in medical R&D.