ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
COVID vaccines

Japan to join EU and China in issuing digital vaccine passport

Certificate aims to enable travelers an easy way to prove they are inoculated

Japan is preparing to launch a digital vaccine passport that can be accessed through an app on a mobile phone.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Japan will issue digital health certificates to citizens who have been inoculated against coronavirus, joining China, the European Union and other countries that have embraced vaccine passports aimed at opening up overseas travel, Nikkei has learned.

The certificate can be managed on a mobile app and will be in line with international standards, allowing the carrier to present the proof of vaccination when boarding a plane or checking in to a hotel.

International travel has been decimated by the pandemic, with air traffic down two-thirds last year and the tourism industry fairing even worse, and some see vaccine passports as a panacea to bring then industry back, although questions of fairness dog their use. 

The government is considering adding the certificate to an app that is set to be introduced next month that holds a digital certificate for a negative test result. The information will also be linked with a new system that tracks the progress of the government's vaccination program.

In addition to Japanese citizens who travel abroad, the app is also aimed at foreigners who are staying in Japan and returning to their home countries.

The government is cautious about using vaccine passports for domestic travel. Norihisa Tamura, Japan's health minister, said the documents can lead to discrimination and prejudice -- a view also held by some legislators in the Diet. The government does not plan to use the vaccine passports for the "Go To Travel" campaign to stimulate tourism demand, even if the program is resumed.

The EU is planning to launch vaccine certificates by summer. Visitors to the EU from Japan may be required to show their certificate when boarding an airplane. China launched its own version of a vaccine passport this month, although it still requires vaccinated travelers to quarantine after arriving in the mainland. 

In determining the standards for its certification, the Japanese government will refer to the EU certificates as well as the universal digital certificate "CommonPass" advocated by the World Economic Forum.

Japan already issues a certificate in paper format. Those who have received a vaccine will be able to attach a vaccination certificate to a coupon issued by the local government for proof of inoculation.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends January 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more