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Growing Concern over Safety of AstraZeneca Vaccine; E.U. to Push "Digital Green Certificate" Vaccine Passports; U.S. Secretary of State Talks North Korea Denuclearization ahead of Seoul Visit; U.N. Says at Least 149 Killed since February 1 Coup in Myanmar; Protests in Lebanon as Currency Hits New Low; Dr. Sanjay Gupta Answers COVID-19 Questions; #MyFreedomDay. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired March 17, 2021 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I am Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, the WHO is still investigating reports of side effects from the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Then the E.U. is set to announce details for its coronavirus vaccination passport, being called the digital green pass.

And a CNN exclusive report: Cubans fleeing the country the only way they can, by boat. Why this is happening now.

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CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

More European countries are ignoring top experts and suspending their use of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, a decision critics warn could lead to thousands of additional COVID deaths because it's slowing down the region's already sluggish vaccine rollout.

The European Medicines Agency has insisted the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe. But along with the World Health Organization, it's investigating whether there is any possible link between the vaccine and a small number of blood clots in vaccinated people. The results of the emergency review are expected Thursday.

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EMER COOKE, EUROPEAN MEDICINES AGENCY: We are worried that there may be an effect on the trust of the vaccines but our job is to make sure that we do -- that the products that we authorize are safe and can be trusted by the European citizens.

(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: Sweden, Cyprus, Luxembourg and Latvia are the latest to put the AstraZeneca vaccine on hold. They joined the other countries you see right here in red.

Meanwhile, some 8 million doses of the vaccine are just sitting in Europe unused right now. Cyril Vanier is following all this for us live from London and joins us now.

The WHO still investigating if there is any link between the AstraZeneca vaccine and these 37 or so reported cases of blood clots.

But what damage has been done in the meantime to confidence in this vaccine that has been safely administered to more than 17 million people?

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A great question, Rosemary. That could end up being the tragedy in this entire story.

The European Union has been acting out of an abundance of caution. I shouldn't even say the European Union because the E.U.'s health regulatory agency, the EMA, has said continue to use this vaccine; the benefits outweigh the risks.

But a majority of the E.U. countries, individually and collectively, have decided to suspend the AstraZeneca vaccine out of an abundance of caution. The tragedy is this may end up doing them a lot more harm than good.

In Europe, there is the principle of precaution. Many countries are guided by this. It's not law but the general principle that, in the face of the unknown, when it comes to products you will administer or allowed to be put on the market for your citizens, if you are not sure and if there might be a health risk, then you must take caution.

That's what happened this time. Countries didn't want to be put in a position where they might have been seen by their populations as ignoring warning signs that the vaccine may have adverse health effects. So they put it on pause, waiting for an opinion at the EMA.

But yesterday, we started seeing a pivot. France and Italy said they were ready to resume swiftly the vaccinations. The French prime minister went on TV last and said I think the EMA advice on AstraZeneca will be positive. I think we are going to restart vaccinating with this vaccine.

So it looks like a number of powerful European countries are expecting to pick this up as swiftly as they dropped it.

To your question, how many people after that will still trust the vaccine?

It's hard to say.

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VANIER: There was already a lot of vaccine hesitancy in France and other European countries. It's possible that the damage in parts of the population may be irreversible.

CHURCH: Yes, that's the big worry. Cyril Vanier, bringing us up to date on that situation.

In the coming hours, the European Commission will reveal details about what's effectively a vaccine passport. It's called a digital green certificate. It's expected to offer a lifeline to the tourism industry, which has been decimated by the pandemic.

European member states and Parliament will need to sign off on the idea in order to move forward. While many have welcomed it, the World Health Organization opposes any mandatory proof of vaccinations as a prerequisite for international travel.

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DR. MICHAEL RYAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: We have to be exceptionally careful, because, right now, we're dealing with a tremendously iniquitous situation in the world, where the likelihood of even offered or getting a vaccine is very much to do with the country limit, very much to deal with the level of wealth and the level of influence that you or your government has on global markets.

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CHURCH: Let's bring in Melinda Mills. She is the director of the Centre for Democratic Demographic Science at the University of Oxford.

Thank you for talking with us.

MELINDA MILLS, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD: Hello.

CHURCH: The E.U. poised to announce details of its digital green certificate or vaccine passport.

How will this work in a world that still doesn't know when immunity ends and whether variants can evade COVID vaccines?

MILLS: There's so many questions about this related to legal and technical aspects. But immunity is an interesting one, because we know that the vaccines protect against severe illness. But there's still a lot of questions about how long immunity will last.

How long does it take before it wanes?

We know that with the seasonal influenza, we require a booster every year. There will have to be an expiry date. There's also a lot of emerging variants and it's unclear if they will compromise existing vaccines.

You have to wonder, can it be revoked at some point as well?

CHURCH: Clearly, these vaccine passports will be used for international travel. We just heard concerns relating to that. We will cover that a little later.

What other access could they give a vaccinated person?

And will they be similar to the green passes we now see being used in Israel and Saudi Arabia?

MILLS: That's one of the main questions, what will they be used for?

The discussion has been largely about international travel. Others have started to introduce using these for international travel. Some countries have already piloted them and started to use them.

The question is how far will they go. In Israel, there is the green pass used to get into restaurants, places of worship, clubs, sports events. The question is how far will it go.

Then you have another question about will it be a requirement to work in certain places?

Will employers have a duty of care to their customers or nursing homes to residents to have people vaccinated?

Then we get into many different complicated legal situations as well.

CHURCH: There have been some suggestions that perhaps further down the road it will be mandatory to get these vaccines but we will see about that. I want to get back to the ethical concern.

Could a vaccine passport potentially disadvantage and exclude some portions of the population that won't have access to any of the COVID vaccines for perhaps many months to come?

MILLS: Ethical issues are really key. People have often been talking about technical aspects, digital, all these other experts. But ethics is really key.

If you are going to introduce them, who will you exclude?

You were just talking about different parts of the world, different regions, where people don't have access to the vaccines at all. And within different countries, it's often related to age. There will be entire groups that just aren't eligible. They will need a fairly substantial group of the population vaccinated.

You also have to think about certain groups that are more vaccine hesitant. There are groups that, for allergies or different reasons, don't take the vaccine.

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MILLS: And what about children?

We are still testing in certain groups as well. So there's a lot of things and a lot of moving parts in this discussion.

CHURCH: Presumably, there would be certificates for those who have had a negative COVID test. We will watch for the details of this. Melinda Mills, thank you for talking with us. An economic crisis brought on by the pandemic is causing many Cubans

to try to flee the country by boat. For some, it's the only way out since they can't get a U.S. visa or an international flight. CNN's Patrick Oppmann has this exclusive report on those willing to risk everything for a chance at a new life.

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PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the tiny boat carrying Cuban migrants approaches the coast of Florida, a police helicopter infrared camera captures the moment when things go terribly wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Air One, they just had a wave take him out. The boat's flipped over.

OPPMANN (voice-over): All eight people who were aboard this boat for more than 16 days in February survived. The Coast Guard told CNN they're seeing an increasing number of Cubans trying to make the dangerous and illegal journey to the U.S.

Some are stopped on rickety boats, known as rustibos. Some found on deserted islands where the Coast Guard airdropped supplies before rescuing them. Others are not so lucky.

In the town of Cabarai (ph) in Cuba, Beatriz keeps vigil for her daughter and two young grandchildren who are missing after the smuggler's boat they took mysteriously sunk this month. The toys and shoes the children left behind sit neatly in their room. Their mom hoped to reunite with her husband in Florida, Beatriz tells us.

"My daughter is a good mother," Beatriz says. "She wouldn't have done this if everything wasn't safe, if everything wasn't OK. She wouldn't put them through this. Her children are everything to her."

Just down the street, Dayami says her husband, Pepe (ph), was on the same boat, trying to go to the U.S. to better provide for his family. She says she doesn't know what to tell his teenaged daughter.

"She says nothing happened to her father," Dayami says, "that her father has to be alive somewhere. But where?

"We can't take it anymore. We are desperate."

Cuba has been hit hard by the impacts of the coronavirus and increased U.S. sanctions under the Trump administration. Tough economic conditions in the past led to waves of Cubans fleeing the island by boat. It's nearly impossible to leave Cuba legally these days.

COVID and still unexplained health incidents among U.S. diplomats here caused the U.S. to stop issuing visas at the embassy in Havana. A State Department report says, as of November, there were more than 78,000 Cubans on a waiting list for immigrant visas.

OPPMANN: Cubans are unable to receive visas at the U.S. embassy here and the pandemic has shut down most international flights to and from this island. For many Cubans desperate to leave, now the dangerous journey by boat is their only option.

OPPMANN (voice-over): Beatriz prays for a miracle for her daughter and grandchildren.

"That they find them and they don't stop looking," she says, "whatever the news is, that we know what happened, it's more upsetting to not know."

But just days after our interview, Cuban officials announced that the search for the missing boat has ended. And like too many other Cubans, Beatriz's family is now lost at sea -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Cabarai (ph), in Cuba.

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CHURCH: Still ahead here on CNN NEWSROOM, key U.S. officials are in South Korea to meet their counterparts but they are also keeping a close eye on the North after an ominous warning from Pyongyang.

Plus, fleeing the violence in Myanmar. We will hear from one government officer who is hiding out in India. And he is not alone.

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CHURCH: Two top officials from the Biden administration are in South Korea after visiting Japan. U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will meet their counterparts in Seoul.

This as the U.S. says North Korea could be preparing to conduct its first weapons test since President Joe Biden took office. CNN's Paula Hancocks joins us now live from Seoul.

Good to see you, Paula. These meetings will be dominated, one would expect, by the threat posed by North Korea.

What is expected to come out of these meetings and this trip?

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, the main point of this meeting is to reconnect with allies. It's something we've heard from U.S. President Joe Biden, that allies are extremely important around the world and it is important to reconnect, believing the previous administration turned away from them.

That is really part one of what we are expecting. Of course, North Korea will be one of the most important topics that they will talk about. U.S. intelligence has assessed at this point that, according to several U.S. officials who've spoken to Barbara Starr on anonymity, North Korea could be preparing to carry out their first weapons test since President Biden took power. But also, since last year, really, it's been at least a year since we

saw any kind of missile testing from North Korea. That would be significant. But it would not be a surprise. Quite often, the North Koreans like to welcome a new U.S. administration with some kind of test. That's what's happened with former president Trump. It happened with former President Obama.

It even happened just before Pope Francis landed for his visit back in 2014 in South Korea. So it is something that North Korea often does.

Now we do know that the two VIPs are in Seoul at this point, they will have meetings today and also into Thursday. One of the main topics will be North Korea, given the fact that secretary of state Antony Blinken has just confirmed that, yes, the U.S. has been trying to reach out to North Korea since mid February.

Diplomacy, they say, is the main option that they want to look at but they haven't had anything in return. Clearly, that will be music to President Moon Jae-in's ears. He is very pro engagement with North Korea -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Paula Hancocks bringing us the latest there from Seoul. Many thanks.

Myanmar's top religious body, a panel of high-ranking monks, has withdrawn its support for the military and is calling for an end to the violence that has gripped the country for weeks. The United Nations says at least 149 people have been killed since the coup on February 1st.

Hundreds of people are missing and there are reports of detainees being tortured. Internet service has been partially restored but cell phone data is still blocked. That's according to a monitoring group.

Meanwhile, close to 300 police and government officers from Myanmar have crossed the border into India to escape the military crackdown. CNN's Vedika Sud has more.

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VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER (voice-over): Violent scenes on the streets of Myanmar ever since the military junta staged a coup forced this police officer to flee to India. He said he didn't want the blood of his country men on his hands.

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SUD (voice-over): CNN is not disclosing his identity for his own safety.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): When more than five protesters gather and we can't break the crowd, we have orders to shoot.

SUD (voice-over): He says the orders by the military to arrest and shoot protesters were unacceptable to him. That's when he decided to escape, leaving behind his parents and siblings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): They provide us with 100 bullets for G3, 100 bullets for M13, 100 bullets for 94, 50 bullets for 12 and 50 rubber bullets.

SUD (voice-over): CNN cannot independently verify this officer's allegations. We called Myanmar's embassy for comment. We were asked to email questions but we have not received a response.

The officer is one of almost 300 people, mostly police officers, government officials with families, who fled Myanmar and crossed into India's northeastern state of Mizoram after the military crackdown. Most refugees are supported by local activists.

Myanmar and Mizoram share a porous border that stretches more than 500 kilometers. The recent influx of those fleeing Myanmar is a growing concern, says the chief minister, Zoramthanga. The decision of their repatriation lies with the Indian government.

ZORAMTHANGA, MIZORAM CHIEF MINISTER: What they have to do is only to give them food and shelter because this is humanitarian point of view. Beyond that, everything depends upon the central government of India.

SUD (voice-over): The officer, who is currently in hiding, says people back home are living in fear.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Civilians have to guard their neighborhoods through the night. They're already facing so many issues.

SUD (voice-over): Myanmar's military says its officers have been attacked. And the secretary of foreign affairs says it has been trying to maintain law and order. Authorities have been exercising utmost restraint dealing with the violent protests, he said.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I want to see my family but only after dictatorship ends.

SUD (voice-over): He once dreamt of serving his country but now lives in constant fear, the fear of being handed back to Myanmar.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): If we are sent back to Myanmar, our life is in danger. There are no guarantees. We might be killed.

SUD (voice-over): With Myanmar in the midst of an intense political turmoil, the wait to return home could be a long one -- Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.

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CHURCH: There is anger and frustration in Lebanon as the country's currency has dropped to an all-time low. Small groups of protesters blocked roads and set fire to garbage containers in Beirut Tuesday as the economic crisis worsened. The Lebanese pound has lost 90 percent of its value since late 2019 and the political deadlock is only adding to concerns, so let's head straight to Beirut, where Ben Wedeman is tracking developments. He joins us now live.

The situation in Lebanon is clearly deteriorating.

What is the latest on some protests there?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These protests are fairly small and scattered, for instance I was on one of the iconic streets of Beirut last night and a group of protesters had lit garbage Dumpsters on fire, blocking this central road.

And this was repeated throughout Beirut last night because, as you mention, the lira has lost 90 percent of its value. This is 50,000 lira, which in the summer of 2019, was worth about $33; it's now worth $3.33.

The minimum wage here in Lebanon was $450, the equivalent; it's now $45. So for people, the situation is getting increasingly desperate. And in the absence of any political leadership, there doesn't seem to be any way out of this crisis at the moment.

CHURCH: So Ben, where could this possibly be going?

This is the worry isn't it, because, from the political side, there is no hope or help.

What happens to the average citizen in this situation?

WEDEMAN: The average citizen is increasingly desperate to make ends meet and they're finding it ever more difficult. You've had, for instance, in 2020, inflation was about 84 percent but, by some estimates, sort of basic food items went up by 400 percent.

So the value of the currency is dropping and prices are rising steadily. Somehow it comes from the Lebanese diaspora abroad sending back money. And for instance, after the August 4th port blast here in Beirut.

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WEDEMAN: There was an influx of aid was that stabilized the currency for a few months but that aid has all dried up. And so people are really desperate.

Part of the crisis is the banking system, which is really just a Ponzi scheme. Many people have had their savings in dollars in the banks but since the crisis began in late 2019, it's near impossible to withdraw anything but a fraction of your savings and also nearly impossible to transfer money abroad.

So there is money out there in theory but nobody has access to it. This has a knock-on effect on the society. According to one study, homicides are up by 45 percent, theft by 144 percent -- Rosemary. CHURCH: Just a desperate situation there, Ben Wedeman, many thanks

for staying on top of that and bringing us the latest.

At least 8 people have been killed in a shooting spree at three massage parlors here in Atlanta and north of the city. Police say one suspect, a 21 year old, Robert Aaron Long (ph), is in custody in connection to one of the shootings. And we will stay on top of that story and bring you the details.

South Korea's foreign ministry says four of the victims are of Korean ethnicity. Investigators are not saying if the three shootings are connected but the leading coalition addressing anti Asian hate and discrimination has called the shootings an unspeakable tragedy and says they will only exacerbate fear and pain in the Asian community.

Still ahead, Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers your questions about COVID symptoms and vaccinations.

And the first of its kind ruling in Japan on same sex marriage, we will go to Tokyo to find out why it is so significant.

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CHURCH: The European Commission will soon offer new hope to the decimated tourism industry. It's pushing what is essentially a COVID vaccine passport, a so called digital green certificate, that would allow free travel during the northern summer.

But the World Health Organization is against mandating proof of vaccinations for international travel, saying it's unfair to those in countries with less access to vaccines.

Meantime, the European Medicines Agency and WHO are wrapping up an emergency review of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine.

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CHURCH: Results are expected Thursday. At least 16 European countries have suspended the vaccine over fears it's linked to blood clots. But the EMA says the benefits far outweigh any supposed risks. A leading virologist says it should have never been put on hold.

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MARC VAN RANST, VIROLOGIST: It's no more with the AstraZeneca vaccine than with the other vaccines. I don't think that they are making the right decision. And I hope that they will reverse the decision. But when they do, even when they do, the damage is done.

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CHURCH: The COVID-19 vaccine maker, Moderna, is starting a clinical trial to test its vaccine on children. The company says the first group has already received their first shots. It plans to include more than 6,700 children between the ages of 6 months and 11 years.

They will receive different doses and will be monitored for a year after their second shot. Moderna says it wants to see if its vaccine is safe and effective to use on young children.

This comes as those who have been vaccinated are beginning to ask, can I go on a spring holiday or a family vacation in the next few months. So CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta answered a few viewer questions. And here is what he says about COVID-19 symptoms and vaccinations.

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DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: A viewers asks, if you are fully vaccinated by the end of May, can you go on vacation in August?

That's one of the most common questions I get. People are starting to think about the light at the end of the tunnel. Let me give you what may be optimistic news.

I think the answer is yes. But I want to be humble here. The virus has surprised us in so many different ways.

When you start to look at how quickly people are being vaccinated, looking at the numbers of new infections, also balancing that -- and we know viral transmission goes down in the warmer months -- I think it seems pretty safe that over the summer we will be in a very different position than we are even right now.

Roberto asked, if I had COVID in September 2020 but don't know if I have antibodies, should I get one dose of the vaccine or two?

Let me explain what he is talking about. When we talk about the two- shot vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer, one way to think about this is that the first shot is priming the pump. It's the prime shot. The second shot is the boost. Roberto is saying, if I have already been infected and I have antibodies, does that serve as the prime?

If I get just one shot, is that essentially like a second shot acting as a boost?

There is gathering evidence that you may be right. I spoke to Dr. Francis Collins, who is the head of the NIH about this. They said they may head in that direction for people who have recovered from COVID, maybe only giving them one shot.

We are not ready to do that yet, but that may be a possibility. One of the big questions you correctly ask is, how we ensure that people have the antibodies reflective of having been previously infected?

Do they still have antibodies or have they waned?

That will be one of the big questions. For now, the guidance is that you still need two shots.

What's being done to help get people out of long COVID-19 syndrome?

That's one of the more perplexing things about this virus. I remember when I first heard that a respiratory virus could be causing isolated loss of smell.

Why would that happen?

Why would a respiratory virus cause COVID toes, strokes?

These are all questions that go into the question you are asking about long COVID.

What exactly is happening in the body?

There is a lot of research right now. There's centers all over the world specifically looking at long COVID, whatever you want to call it. It likely has to do with the amount of inflammation in the body in response to the initial infection. It doesn't seem to be correlated with the severity of infection, meaning people with mild symptoms could still develop lingering symptoms.

But we don't know yet. A year into this, we are still not sure why people have these long haul symptoms or even how long they last.

[02:35:00]

GUPTA: A recent study said about 30 percent of people, even nine months after their initial infection, still had various symptoms. So there are a few question marks that remain and that's one of the big ones.

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CHURCH: And our thanks to Dr. Gupta. If you have questions or want more answers, visit cnn.com/health.

A significant victory for same sex couples in Japan. A district court has ruled Japan's ban on same sex marriage violates the constitution. It's the first time a Japanese court has ruled on the issue. Blake Essig is in Tokyo this hour. He joins us now.

Talk to us about the significance of this and what its impact will likely be.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is no question this is a landmark decision. The Japanese district court for the first time has ruled same sex couples not being able to marry is unconstitutional. It's truly a decision which could usher in a new era of marriage equality here in Japan.

While the plaintiffs were denied compensation, they asked for about 1 million yen, $10,000 U.S. in damages. That was thrown out. But the verdict is what they wanted and that could set a precedent and impact all the same sex cases going forward. We have a quote from one of the plaintiffs, who just addressed the

media and said, "This ruling was historical. I could not help crying when the chief judge said there was discrimination and that the law was unconstitutional."

This is a big step forward but not a huge step forward because this was a district court ruling. It doesn't have the authority to change the law.

I spoke with Human Rights Watch director in Japan, who told me it's likely the government will appeal the decision all the way up to the supreme court and that's where real change can occur. But that's likely several years away from actually happening.

This current lawsuit against the governor was filed in 2019 by three couples after the government denied their marriage application because they were a same-sex couple. This is one of five similar cases currently moving through the court system across the country.

While the constitution doesn't ban same sex marriage, there is wording that refers to the mutual consent of both sexes. Their case confirmed that the Japanese constitution guarantees freedom and equality under the law. Right now, Japan itself is the only G7 country that doesn't recognize same sex marriage.

Here in Japan, same sex couples are deprived the ability to collect inheritance if their partner dies. They are unable to file for joint custody of children they raised together. They are not able to receive public housing.

Perhaps one of the bigger issues here in Japan is that there is currently no LGBTQ antidiscrimination laws in place to protect people who identify as LGBTQ. So a huge decision here in Japan today and still a long way to go.

CHURCH: Blake Essig, many thanks.

Do stay with CNN. Ahead, we will tell you more about the student led day of action. Why some people are signing the pledge to end modern day slavery. Next.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, I am a 5th grader in Abu Dhabi and I feel free whenever I skate.

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(MUSIC PLAYING) CHURCH: On Tuesday, CNN marked the fifth anniversary of My Freedom

Day, a day of global awareness and commitment to end modern day slavery. Young people from more than 100 countries made the effort to sign the freedom pledge, outlining practical actions you can take to help eliminate this human scourge.

Here is what some of them had to say about the importance of freedom.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me, freedom is --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me freedom is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To me freedom is --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- the ability to write, to speak, think and do as one wants to.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm Myos.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I'm Phoenix. We're signing the My Freedom Day pledge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am Greta in Atlanta, Georgia. I'm signing the My Freedom Day pledge.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I signed this paper and you should also. I try to buy from businesses that treat their workers fairly. Let's all do our part.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I will take into consideration of a company's business practices when buying things like clothes, chocolate and electronics.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I support My Freedom Day by saying no to slavery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I pledge to take action whenever someone is getting discriminated because of their color, race or religion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I promise to help put an end to slavery and take action.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel free when I'm able to play tennis.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like to play. I can do this because I'm free.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I pledge to fight human trafficking and modern slavery. I fight. I fight. I fight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If we work together, we can stop slavery forever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I pledge to understand online dangers and speak up if I see friends who might be making a bad decision.

STUDENTS: We want to live in a free world.

STUDENTS: Let's end modern-day slavery.

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CHURCH: And you can sign the pledge and share it on social media using the #MyFreedomDay. For more on the effort to end modern day slavery, be sure to watch our CNN special, a My Freedom Day global forum. It airs this weekend, right here on CNN.

Thank you so much for joining us. I am Rosemary Church. "WORLD SPORT" is up next. I will be back at the top of the hour.