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Japan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Passport

Japan’s COVID-19 Vaccination Passport

covid-19-vaccination-passport

Consistent with many countries around the world, Japan has announced its intention to utilise some form of digital vaccination passport in an effort to re-open its international borders and facilitate ease of travel. Multiple digital platforms are currently under development around the world, variously referred to as a ‘COVID-19 Vaccination/Vaccine Passport’, a ‘Green Passport’, a ‘COVID-19 Vaccination/Vaccine Certificate’, a ‘Digital Passport’ and variations of these. On this page you will find the following information:

1 / Latest News & Updates

2 / Which Digital Passport Will Japan Use?

3 / How Will it Work?

4 / Japan’s Digital Passport – FAQs

The information continues to be updated. As more information is available, we will update this page.

1 / LATEST NEWS & UPDATES     


hospital-health

Japan continues to be impacted COVID-19 with international travel severely restricted at this time. For information about what’s happening in Japan – including the latest numbers and the continued roll-out of Japan’s COVID-19 vaccination program, see our ‘Visit Japan: Clean, Green & Healthy’ page. In terms of the roll-out of a digital vaccination passport in Japan, here’s the latest:

June 8 2021: media reports are stating that the government is intending to introduce ‘inoculation certificates’ this summer, in order that Japanese citizens and residents can travel abroad with priority given to business travel. Reports provide little real detail however with no explanation of when and how this will take place. We will update this page once more information becomes available.

May 19 2021: the government has announced that it will set-up a ‘study team’ that will consider the possibility of issuing digital ‘vaccination certificates’. Issued by local municipalities, the certificates would act as verifiable evidence of a person’s vaccination history. This reflects a move in some foreign countries and an expectation that such documents may be required to travel internationally, once borders begin to reopen. Details remain vague at this time. We will update this page once more information is available.

Apr 29 2021: the government has announced its intention to introduce a ‘vaccination passport’ in Japan, in an effort to open its international border. The digital platform is expected to be accessible in the form of a smartphone app, with travellers using a QR code generated by the app to check-in and upon arrival in their destination country. In the case of Japanese citizens and foreign residents of Japan, the app will link to the ‘Vaccination Record System’ to access the user’s vaccination and testing history to generate a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ response to whether they can travel. See below for further details.

Mar 15 2021: Japan has started participation in a trial of the ‘CommonPass’ at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. The CommonPass is a ‘universal digital certificate’ which displays the vaccination history and/or COVID-19/PCR test results of the user on their smart phone. The user’s history and results are then used to generate a QR code that allows them to check-in and travel. It is hoped that the introduction of a universal digital pass will allow international travel to recommence as soon as possible.

For further details about who can travel to Japan at this time and what’s required, see our ‘Traveling To/From Japan During COVID-19’ page.

2 / WHICH DIGITAL PASSPORT WILL JAPAN USE?


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Japan is yet to commit to any of the proposed ideas regarding the creation of a universal ‘vaccination passport’ however is considering the available options. There are multiple digital platforms being developed at this time including the ‘IATA Travel Pass’ by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the ‘Vaccine Credential Initiative’ supported by some big tech companies, the ‘Digital Green Pass’ being developed by the European Union and the ‘CommonPass’, being developed by the World Economic Forum and currently favoured by Japan.

As reported on March 15th, Japan participated in the trial of the CommonPass at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Using the smartphone application, participants underwent a PCR test which was transmitted to a laboratory with negative test results received within on their phones via the app. Common Pass testing is being tested by airlines around the world including United Airlines, Cathay Pacific and Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) also intending to participate.

As referenced above, other forms of digital certificate are also in development. Representing 290 airlines, the IATA is developing their ‘IATA Travel Pass’ app with airlines including Singapore Airlines and Emirates Airline participating.

3 / HOW WILL IT WORK?


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The vaccination passport will be a digital platform that carries the vaccination history of the user. It is expected to be downloadable as a smartphone app and will record the COVID-19 vaccination history of the user along with test results including any polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and antigen tests they have undergone.

For example, the CommonPass allows users to access their vaccination history and test results via health data systems, national and local registries or their personal health records. The program behind the app assesses whether the history and results are sourced from trusted organisation and satisfies the entry requirements of the country the user is seeking to enter. The pass makes that assessment and generates a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ in relation to entry requirements for the country the user, which they use via QR code to check-in and upon arrival. The app does not share the actual results or personal information of the user.

Development of the app is linked to specific testing labs in Japan and other countries. Once vaccinated or tested in participating countries, results will be automatically uploaded to the digital platform and accessible by the user, allowing them to travel.

It is important to note that Japan has not yet committed to the CommonPass and there is no definitive information as to when it – or any alternative app – will be ready for use and when the border will open.

4 / JAPAN’S VACCINATION PASSPORT – FAQs


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There are still lots of questions surrounding the choice and roll-out of a digital vaccination passport in Japan. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

When will it be launched?

The exact date when the digital passport will be launched remains unknown. While Japan has signalled its intention to implement some form of digital platform as soon as possible, the lack of consensus across important sectors and shifting global landscape means a smooth roll-out is not guaranteed. We will update this page as more information becomes available.

Will Japan definitely use the CommonPass?

This is another unknown. While Japan currently appears to be favouring the CommonPass, its decision is likely to be influenced by decisions in other countries and considerations at home. China, the European Union and the United States are ahead of Japan in development of digital passports with Europe and the United States seeking to open-up travel for summer 2021 with use of the ‘Digital Green Pass’. Given the size of those travel markets, the platform favoured by those countries could quickly become the default vaccination passport around the world and Japan might have no choice but to follow suit. We will update this page as more information becomes available.

I can’t have a test or use the digital passport. Can I still travel to Japan?

The Japanese government has expressed reservations about use of any type of vaccination passport if it discriminates against people who have not or cannot be vaccinated. It is a good sign that people who are not yet vaccinated will still be able to travel and the digital platforms under development will record and evaluate the user’s COVID-19 testing history, which if negative will hopefully still allow them to travel to Japan once the border is open.

Does use of a digital passport mean that I don’t have to quarantine in Japan?

Another unknown. The intention of introducing a digital vaccination passport is to facilitate ease of travel and avoid periods of quarantine. So hopefully that’s the case however it can’t be said for certain and it’s important to note that travellers are still subject to satisfying health requirements upon arrival in any country, and potentially could be required to quarantine if there are any concerns about their health status.