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Toyota Tsusho Corporation (Toyota Tsusho), one of Japan’s general trading companies and a member of the Toyota Group, today announced a strategic operational partnership with Zipline, the world’s first and only national-scale drone delivery service, to enable healthcare access for people and communities across Japan, even in the most remote areas of the country.

By partnering with Zipline, Toyota Tsusho brings new advancements in mobility to help transform the healthcare supply chain in Japan. Zipline’s on-demand delivery technology can enable instant, equitable and reliable access to essential medical supplies nationwide, leading to a more efficient healthcare system, better patient care and improved quality of life for the people of Japan. The partnership will begin by exploring the delivery of a range of critical medical and pharmaceutical supplies to remote areas, with the opportunity to expand to additional use cases and sectors in the future.

“We first invested in Zipline three years ago because we strongly believe their technology has the power to reimagine how health systems deliver care to people around the world,” said Masato Yamanami, CEO for Automotive Division of Toyota Tsusho. “Zipline’s model has proven systematic impact, and we are thrilled to bring that same innovation to support the communities of Japan.”

This partnership marks Zipline’s entrance into Japan. The company currently delivers medical supplies at national scale in Ghana and Rwanda, and also operates in the United States. Zipline’s drones have flown more than 5 million autonomous miles to deliver more than 1.5 million doses of vaccines, units of blood, and critical and life-saving medications to more than 2,500 health facilities serving more than 25 million people.

“Our mission at Zipline is to provide every human on earth with instant access to vital medical supplies. This partnership with Toyota Tsusho is the first step in delivering on that promise for the more than 120 million people in Japan,” said Keller Rinaudo, co-founder and CEO of Zipline. “We live in a time where equal access to medicine has never been more urgent and imperative, and our two teams share a commitment to finding new ways to help solve the problem.”

This is Zipline’s first-ever strategic operational partnership, and represents a new model for scaling its on-demand delivery service. Toyota Tsusho will manage its own distribution center powered by Zipline’s aircraft and logistics technology to distribute supplies on demand across a network of healthcare providers. As part of its partnership with Zipline, Toyota Tsusho will also develop first-hand drone logistics operations expertise, building on its experience in the global automotive industry as a Toyota Group company and operational excellence in Japan.

This partnership follows Toyota Tsusho’s investment in Zipline in June 2018 and is part of the company’s NEXT Technology strategy intended to support new innovation in mobility. The companies have also partnered in Ghana, where Zipline delivers medical products from Gokals-Laborex Limited — Toyota Tsusho Group’s pharmaceutical distributor — to hospitals across the country.

About Toyota Tsusho Corporation

Toyota Tsusho Corporation was founded in 1948 as the trading company for the Toyota Group. Today, Toyota Tsusho operates in more than 120 countries with approximately 66,000 Group employees, are all striving to contribute to the creation of prosperous societies. Toyota Tsusho continues to expand as a global leader in vehicle exports and automobile production support. The company has seven operating divisions (Metals/ Global Parts & Logistics/ Automotive/ Machinery, Energy & Project/ Chemicals & Electronics/ Food & Consumer Services/ Africa) focused around three business fields. These are the Mobility field, which contributes to future convenient societies, the Resources & Environment field, which ensures sustainable societies, and the Life & Community field, which supports comfortable and healthy lifestyles.

About Zipline

Zipline is the world’s only national-scale, instant drone delivery service. Its mission is to provide every human on Earth with instant access to vital medical supplies. Zipline’s drones have flown more than 5 million miles in multiple countries and completed more than 115,000 commercial deliveries. Zipline designs, assembles, and operates its unmanned aircraft system in the United States and is progressing towards FAA type certification of its drones and air carrier certification for its US operations. The most respected investors in the world support Zipline, including Temasek, Baillie Gifford, Sequoia Capital, Andreessen Horowitz, GV, The Rise Fund, a global impact fund managed by TPG, Katalyst Ventures, Toyota Tsusho Corporation, and Stanford University.

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