July start planned for vaccination passports
TOKYO - Japan will start issuing vaccination certificates to people traveling overseas who have been inoculated against COVID-19 as early as the middle of July.
For the time being, the government will issue such certificates -- dubbed "vaccine passports" -- on paper. It is considering issuing them in digital form in the future, which would allow people to apply for them online.
The government is preparing to create certificates of vaccination now so that paper-based documents can be issued by the middle or end of July, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said at a press conference Thursday.
"We'll accelerate coordination by holding a briefing session for local governments as early as next week," he said.
The vaccine passports will show the traveler's name, nationality, passport number and date of vaccination, as well as the manufacturer of the vaccine used and other details. It will be issued by the municipalities responsible for vaccinations on behalf of the central government. No fees are expected to be charged for issuance.
The government's Vaccination Record System will be used for the issuance process. As the system does not currently support English notations, the government is considering making improvements to the system.
In the European Union and other countries, there is a growing movement to introduce vaccination certificates as a measure to prevent unvaccinated people from entering.
In Japan as well, there have been calls -- mainly from the business community -- for the early introduction of this system in a bid to restart travel between Japan and other countries.