Photo/Illutration The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)

U.S. pharmaceutical firm Moderna Inc. is negotiating with the Japanese government regarding the company’s plans to build a factory in Japan to manufacture its vaccines, its CEO said on Sept. 14.

Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel, who is visiting Japan, said in an online interview with The Asahi Shimbun that it is important to produce his company’s mRNA-based vaccines, including one against COVID-19, at a plant in Japan for the domestic supply.

Negotiations with the government hold the key to realizing the plan to build the factory, said Rami Suzuki, president of Moderna Japan Co.

“We are discussing with politicians and bureaucrats to convince them of the importance and significance of our plan,” she said.

The country currently imports all doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine used to inoculate its citizens.

Bancel said Moderna is also considering manufacturing its vaccines for the flu and other infectious diseases at the factory, but he did not specify when or where the plant would be constructed.

The Japanese government will soon roll out bivalent vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer Inc. that were authorized for use in Japan on Sept. 12.

These vaccines are designed to help protect against the Omicron subvariant BA.1 and an early strain of the novel coronavirus.

Moderna’s new plant would help Japan have a stable supply of the vaccines.