Tokyo, 5th April, 2016 (WAM) – The Japanese government on Tuesday adopted an action plan to reduce the use of antibiotics to two-thirds of the current level by 2020, in efforts to combat antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The move followed the World Health Organization’s adoption last year of a global action plan on the issue, under which member countries are requested to compile national action plans within two years, Jiji Press reported.

The number of deaths caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria around the world reached 700,000 in 2013 and is estimated to exceed 10 million in 2050 if no action is taken to combat those bacteria, according to the Japanese health ministry.

Based on its action plan, the Japanese government will draw up guidelines on the appropriate use of antibiotics, promote public understanding of the issue through events and online content, and conduct research on the use of antibiotics at elderly care facilities.

By reducing the use of antibiotics, the government aims to drastically reduce antibiotic-resistant bacteria.