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Japan's Prime Minister says safeguarding the country's hospital system is one of his top priorities. He made the comments to parliament Monday in an opening address that comes as the country is struggling with a growing spread of the coronavirus.

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The coronavirus pandemic has affected everything from life expectancy in the United States to economies around the world. It's even had a surprising impact on a particular activity in Southeast Asia: piracy.

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

As coronavirus vaccines continue to roll out around the world, there's a growing focus on the differences among versions. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have a high rate of effectiveness. So does the Astra Zeneca version. But there's a bit more uncertainty with some vaccines coming from China.

AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana

As planning continues for wider vaccinations across the state, that process is taking place around the world. That includes Indonesia, where authorities are taking a slightly different approach with a different vaccine.

AP Photo/Vincent Thian

New cases of the coronavirus are continuing to rise, not only in the United States but also in several other parts of the world. That includes Malaysia — where the government has now declared a state of emergency covering the entire country.

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In the closing days of the Trump Administration, there are still new developments in certain policy areas. And some of them could complicate transition efforts for the incoming Biden Administration. One example is U.S. policy when it comes to Taiwan.

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As vaccines continue to be administered across the islands, other countries are moving ahead with their own plans. That includes three countries in the Asia Pacific that are on different timetables for vaccinating their residents.

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko

The city of Tokyo is under a state of emergency today. New cases of the coronavirus have been spiking this week, and have set new daily records.

AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe

Several parts of Asia that were successful in dealing with containing the early wave of coronavirus are now facing new challenges with the disease. And that includes Thailand

AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye, File

Nearly every location around the world has been hit by the coronavirus. One of the few exceptions is in the Asia Pacific, and it's a country that's taking further steps to stay that way.

AP Photo/Lee Jin-man

The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a broad impact around the world, and not only with illness, death and economic disruption. The virus is showing up as one reason for a declining birthrate in some locations — including South Korea. But that's not the whole story.

AP Photo/Koji Sasahara

At the start of a new year, thoughts can turn to the promise of new beginnings. Sometimes that takes the form of resolutions, or aspirations that haven't yet been met. In Japan, that includes hopes to increase the national birthrate with a new strategy.

Lachlan Fearnley / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Wikimedia Commons

On this New Year's Day, there is a small but significant change for citizens of Australia. It's an adjustment to the national anthem — in support of the country's indigenous people.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

It's been another week of developments in the continuing story of vaccines against COVID-19. Except for China, most of the Asia Pacific has been moving more slowly with actual injections than in places such as the United States and the United Kingdom. But plenty of vaccines have already been ordered.

AP Photo/Vincent Thian

Many university students around the world are on break this week. But when classes resume, there is still a question about how much instruction can be done in person. And that's sparking a controversy in one Southeast Asian country.

AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Two versions of the COVID-19 vaccine have been approved for emergency use in the United States. One made by Pfizer and the other by Moderna. But there are other vaccines in production and in trials — including some from China.

AP Photo/ Jerry Harmer, File

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, each country has adopted its own policies to control the spread of the virus — with mixed success. Thailand has had a relatively low number of cases, but a new spike has led to a quick and concentrated response from the government.

AP Photo/Kin Cheung

More than half of adults in China are overweight. That’s according to a new government study out this week that blames a variety of factors for a dramatic rise in the numbers.

AP Photo/Hiro Komae, File

Spending around the world continues to increase on fighting the spread of the coronavirus. That includes budgeting for events that are still in the planning stages, such as the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The games are scheduled to start seven months from today, but it's still far from certain that they will take place.

AP Photo/Mark Baker

The combination of COVID-19 and the Christmas holidays is turning out to be a difficult one across the country and around the world. That's true this week in Australia's largest city, where one area has seen a recent spike in cases.

AP photo/Wally Santana

COVID-19 vaccines are just starting to make their way through the first phase of health workers in Hawaii. But a number of tourism destinations are already adjusting some of their policies and plans when it comes to visitors.

AP Photo/Aaron Favila

We're a week away from Christmas, and doctors are reminding people to be cautious about holiday gatherings in the midst of the pandemic. That's true across the United States, and it's also the case in the Philippines — which is starting to see the beginnings of a spike in new cases.

AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

An international group of scientists is heading to Wuhan, China next month to find out more about the initial outbreak of COVID-19. That word comes from the World Health Organization -- which is putting together the research trip.

AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim, File

It’s been a week of progress in the distribution of vaccines for the coronavirus. But some locations are already looking ahead to the possibility of increased travel. And in some cases, even before vaccines are widely available. 

Indonesian Presidential Palace via AP

The first does of vaccines for COVID-19 have been sent to locations across the country this week—including here in Hawaii. Vaccinations are also being distributed in Indonesia—but with some significant differences.

AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying

International travel plans are still on hold for much of the world. That’s definitely the case in most parts of the Asia Pacific — but visitors from one location are getting a warmer welcome.

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Hawaii’s “safe travels” program is understandably focused on air travel. But the cruise industry also has plans to eventually return to the islands. For now, there’s more activity in that area elsewhere in the Pacific.

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As progress continues on approvals of vaccinations for COVID-19, more countries are working on plans for how to handle future travel. And more people in the Asia Pacific are saying that vaccines may become as necessary as a passport for international travel.

AP Photo/Taimy Alvarez, File

Vaccines for COVID-19 have moved from testing to injecting. The vaccine is not yet available in the United States — and the country that has bought the most doses in the world is on the other side of the world.

Photo/Markus Schreiber, File

One of the world’s top gatherings of business and government leaders is moving from Europe to Asia. It’s a temporary shift, and the reason is safety.

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