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The delayed authorization and slow development of coronavirus vaccines in Japan have exposed deeper problems. (Source photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

Japan falling behind in developing biopharmaceutical drugs

Trade deficit in medicines likely to top $26bn in 2021 due to weak R&D

TAKURO KUSASHIO and KOHEI YAMADA, Nikkei staff writers | Japan

TOKYO -- Japan's trade deficit in medical goods is likely to top 3 trillion yen ($26.45 billion) in 2021 for the first time as the nation loses its market presence in the era of biopharmaceutical drugs.

The deficit started to expand about 15 years ago. According to data released by the Ministry of Finance, it has exceeded 2 trillion yen for six years in a row.

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