Japan has become the latest country to issue its own digital vaccine passport, following the footsteps of China,
the European Union (EU) and other countries that are using digital health certificates to track users’ vaccination and coronavirus test history to allow international travel.
Citizens who travel abroad as well as foreigners living in Japan who wish to return home can access the certificate via a mobile app — linked to the government's vaccination programme — which they can present as proof of vaccination when boarding planes or at hotel check-ins, reported Nikkei Asia.
Next in talks is adding the certificate to an app due for launch next month, which holds a digital certificate showing negative test results. Vaccinated Japanese currently receive their certificates in paper form.
At the moment, the vaccine passport will not be used for domestic travel. The Japanese government hopes the digital tool will contribute towards a standardised, global system to aid the hopeful return to travel normalcy, added the Nikkei Asia report.
Japan's digital health pass will follow international standards, referencing the likes of Common Pass, the IATA Travel Pass, and the EU's proposed Digital Green Certificate system.
While this is a step forward for Japan — in theory, vaccine certificates will allow holders unrestricted access to flights, tourist attractions, hotels and possibly avoiding quarantine protocols — this may still not be in time for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Test events begin in April, with the committee also announcing earlier in March that the event will go on but without foreign spectators.