Japan plans to allow municipalities to begin issuing “vaccine passports” from mid-July, with its top government spokesperson on Thursday referencing the documents’ “prompt issuance”.
“To prepare for prompt issuance, we will first issue the vaccination certificates by paper but will also make consideration for their issuance in the digital format,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a regular press conference.
According to sources familiar with the matter, more activities are becoming available overseas to people who have documents certifying they have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Japanese government wants its citizens carrying the documents verifying their vaccination status to be exempted or only have to undergo a shortened quarantine period when they travel, the sources said.
The government here has been asking other countries to comply with this, they added.
Some business circles here are calling for the passports to be issued as soon as possible in hopes for increased overseas travel in twine with overseas economies reopening.
The certificates, to be issued by local municipalities in Japan, will be free of charge and based on the government’s vaccination records.
They will be available to regular passport holders.
The vaccine passports will also show the vaccine manufacturer, with the information written in Japanese and English.
The government has said it may also issue digital versions of the certificates that can be applied for online, Japan’s public broadcaster NHK said.
In the meantime, applications for the vaccination passports will have to be made in person at local government offices.
For inbound travelers, Japan currently allows entry only to nationals and resident foreigners as well as foreigners with “special exceptional circumstances.”
They must submit negative results for coronavirus tests taken within 72 hours prior to their flight departure and observe a 14-day quarantine period after entering Japan.
The vaccination rollout in Japan was launched in February starting with health care workers and expanded to those aged 65 or older from April. Inoculations for people under 65 have recently started in some municipalities and by companies for their employees.
Despite increasing its pace of vaccinations, the percentage of Japan’s population that has undergone inoculation still remains far lower than other comparable advanced countries.