Japan plans to launch a digital “vaccine passport” in a bid to reopen international travel. Foreign nationals who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to enter the country in the future, according to this scheme.
Japan joins the EU, China, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in the list of countries now working on vaccine passport schemes.
Tara Kono, the Japanese minister in charge of the country’s COVID-19 vaccination program, said that the country needed to follow suit on the international stage.
“Other countries are doing it, so Japan will have to consider it too,” Kono was quoted as saying.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on global movement. One of the country’s biggest concerns is that business travel has come to a halt.
A COVID-19 vaccine passport for Japan could be the key to reopening borders to visitors.
How Will the Japanese Vaccine Passport Work?
Japan’s vaccine passport will be a digital platform. It will be linked to the Vaccination Record System (the government’s records of who has been vaccinated).
It will also list any COVID-19 test results the individual has received.
It is expected that the vaccination passport will be accessible via a smartphone app.
Travelers will likely have to use the app to scan QR codes to board flights or when passing through border control.
It is expected that more information will be made available during the development of the project.
Will Japan Require a COVID Vaccine for Travel?
A COVID-19 vaccination will allow foreign nationals to enter Japan under the vaccine passport plan. However, it will not be the only way to gain entry.
There are other means of proving that the traveler is free from coronavirus. It has been reported that some of these will be shown on the vaccine passport as an alternative to being vaccinated.
The Japanese vaccine passport will also show any polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antigen tests that the passenger has had. It is likely that if an individual has tested negative for COVID-19 within the previous few days, they will be permitted to enter Japan.
This measure is an important step to address fears of discrimination. Critics of vaccine passports have previously called attention to the fact that some people are unable or unwilling to be vaccinated due to allergies and potential side effects.
If COVID-19 test results are accepted on the vaccine passport, this will allow people in these situations to be able to travel.
Why Is the Japan Vaccine Passport Necessary?
The pandemic has caused problems for countries around the world, including Japan.
International travel has been severely impacted. Many countries have introduced a list of COVID-19 travel restrictions. This, in turn, has affected economies around the world, including Japan’s.
At present, Japan only allows citizens and foreign residents to return to the country. It also allows other foreign nationals to enter under “special exceptional circumstances”. All travelers must undergo tests.
The vaccine passport will allow individuals who have been vaccinated or tested to travel to Japan relatively easily.
This would be an advantage to travelers, businesses, and the country as a whole. The economy would be boosted by the arrival of foreign visitors.
Vaccine Passports – Are They the Way Forward?
Japan is the latest in a number of countries and blocs to announce that a vaccine passport is in development.
China became the first country to launch a COVID-19 vaccination passport with the intention of stimulating international travel. It is only available to Chinese citizens at present.
The European Union (EU) plans to launch a digital “Green Certificate” in an attempt to reopen travel for summer 2021.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is also working on a similar initiative, while the United States of America is reportedly considering its own vaccination passport.
With these systems in place, travelers will be able to go abroad once more. This would be a huge boost to the economies of countries that accept a vaccine passport.
The idea of allowing vaccinated passengers to move between countries has some critics. Most point to possible discrimination against unvaccinated individuals. Japanese minister Tara Kono has previously voiced his concern about this matter.
Initiatives such as those in Japan and Europe have tried to avoid this problem by designing their systems to show negative COVID-19 tests in addition to vaccinations.
When will Japan’s vaccine passport be available?
It is not yet known when the vaccine passport for Japan will become available to travelers. The initiative is in the early stages of development.
However, it is likely that the program will be implemented quickly. China created its own vaccination passport very quickly and the EU plans to have its system activated and ready to use for summer 2021. It is expected that Japan will try to do the same.
More information will become available as the plan progresses.
Over 2 million people in the country itself have been vaccinated. However, Japan’s vaccine rollout has not been as quick as other countries around the world. Less than 2% of the population have received the vaccine, with fewer than 1 million people fully vaccinated with both doses.
Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine that has been approved by Japan.