On May 20, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan announced that the country will pledge US$800 million to the Global Fund’s upcoming Fifth Replenishment, demonstrating a strong commitment to global health ahead of the G-7 Summit in Ise-Shima, Japan, next week.

The pledge, the largest to date in the Global Fund’s 2017-2019 Replenishment round, represents a 46 percent increase over Japan’s previous pledge as measured in Japanese yen, due to fluctuations in the yen-dollar exchange rate. The announcement was made during the launch of Japan’s new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Promotion Headquarters.

Prime Minister Abe announced the pledge as part of a $1.1 billion package of new funding aimed at responding to public health emergencies, infectious disease control, and the achievement of the SDGs and Universal Health Coverage (UHC). In addition to the Global Fund, partners will include Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, the World Bank’s Pandemic Emergency Facility, and the World Health Organization.

“Japan has been an unwavering supporter of the Global Fund since we began, providing both financial and intellectual leadership to our partnership,” said Global Fund Executive Director Mark Dybul in the organization’s press release. “Prime Minister Abe’s commitment to ending these epidemics and promoting access to basic health services and Universal Health Coverage is a great example of leadership in global health.”

Japan has been a stalwart leader in global health. The Japanese government introduced infectious diseases to the agenda of the 26th G8 Summit, held in July 2000 in Okinawa, which paved the path for the Global Fund’s establishment in 2002. The country has since served as the Fund’s fifth largest donor. In December 2015, Japan hosted the Preparatory Meeting for the Global Fund’s Fifth Replenishment, at which global health leaders discussed how to fund programming to accelerate the end of HIV, tuberculosis and malaria as epidemics, and how to build sustainable health systems in support of achieving UHC.

Japan’s pledge builds on the momentum of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s May 9 announcement that Canada will host the Fifth Voluntary Replenishment Conference in Montreal on Sept. 16. The Global Fund aims to raise $13 billion through the 2017-2019 Fifth Replenishment cycle, to support programming that would save an estimated 8 million lives. The Global Fund’s Investment Case, released at the Tokyo meeting in December, estimates that every $100 million invested in Global Fund-supported programs saves 60,000 lives and catalyzes $2.2 billion in long-term economic gains.

For more details on Japan’s partnership with the Global Fund, visit Friends of the Global Fund, Japan.

For more information on the importance of Japan’s SDG and UHC efforts, read “Eyes On The Final Prize: Integrating Services To Transform Global Health” by Dr. Eric Goosby, UN Special Envoy on Tuberculosis and former U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator.