Sony to join forces in manufacturing much-needed ventilators in Japan for COVID-19 patients


Sony Corp. plans to join forces with other companies in Japan to manufacture much-needed ventilators to be used in intensive care facilities amid a shortening supply of the machines as the number of coronavirus patients here continues to increase, sources at the company said Wednesday.

The Tokyo-based multinational conglomerate will utilize its digital camera production facility in Aichi Prefecture as well as its medical equipment plant in Shizuoka Prefecture to make components for ventilators, the sources said.

They added that Sony will also be involved in assembling ventilators, with the plan aimed at as many as 2,000 ventilators being produced within three months and more thereafter once the collaboration expands to include other domestic firms.

In a bid to garner more support from domestic manufacturers like Sony and companies from other fields to help increase the production of ventilators as the virus number continues to climb nationwide, the Japanese government said the approval process of manufacturing medical equipment will be reduced from several months to a matter of days.

Sony’s initial collaboration with Tokyo’s Acoma Medical Industry Co. in manufacturing ventilators will be expanded henceforth to include other companies, so the manufacturing process can be enhanced and the volume of ventilators can increase to meet the ever-increasing demand, the sources said.

Japan has seen the overall pace of new virus infections increase recently. Concerns have been mounting in the government and among medical communities that should cases continue to rise at such a pace, the nation could fast run out of ventilators.

As of Wednesday evening, coronavirus cases in Japan increased by 467 nationwide, including 127 new infections in Tokyo and 74 in Osaka, health ministry and local authorities said, bringing the nationwide total to 8,640.

The death toll from the pneumonia-causing virus now stands at a total of 189, including those from a cruise ship that was quarantined in Yokohama near Tokyo, the latest figures showed.

On April 7, Japan declared a state of emergency in seven prefectures over the coronavirus crisis in a bid to better empower hard-hit prefectures to take enhanced measures to curb the spread of the virus. Enditem

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