You could be visiting Japan sooner than you think.
According to a report from KyodoNews.com, which cites “government sources,” the Japanese government plans to implement a form of vaccine passport to make it easier and safer for vaccinated travelers to visit the country. These vaccine passports would reportedly take the form of a smartphone app that could be scanned at airports.
“Other countries are [implementing vaccine passports], so Japan will have to consider it too,” Taro Kono, the minister in charge of the country’s vaccination efforts, said during a parliamentary session this week.
Kono had previously voiced concerns that vaccine passports could be discriminatory against those who are unable or unwilling to be vaccinated. According to KyodoNews, however, Japan’s vaccine passport app would also include information on negative results from polymerase chain reaction and antigen tests, meaning it would also allow unvaccinated people to travel if they test negative for COVID-19.
The app will reportedly be linked to the Vaccination Record System, a government-run database that keeps track of people who have received inoculation.
At present, Japan is only open to Japanese citizens and foreigners residing in the country. Its technically possible for others to cross the country’s borders, but only “special exceptional circumstances.”
Like many other countries, Japan is eager to safely restart tourism, which accounted for two percent of its Gross Domestic Product in 2019, before the pandemic took hold.