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Asia's COVID vaccination drives show Japan as digital laggard

Indonesia, China and India make use of apps while Tokyo relies on paperwork

In Indonesia, doctors and nurses can register to receive vaccinations by typing "vaksin" into WhatsApp.   © Reuters

TOKYO/JAKARTA -- The rollout of Japan's COVID-19 vaccination program will be a gauge of how quickly it can rebound from an economic slowdown. But it will also be a harsh reality check for one of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's key policies: upgrading the country with digital technology.

Since taking office in September, Suga has outlined a number of ambitious online service policies, including the setting up of a digital agency later this year. But drafts of the vaccination scheme sent by the health ministry to local governments indicate that it will rely heavily on paper documents and manual labor.

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