TOKYO -- Japan will ask other countries to ease entry requirements for holders of its COVID-19 vaccination certificate while exploring reciprocal moves for incoming travelers as part of a push to revive international travel.
The vaccine certificates, which will include such information as the date of vaccination and its manufacturer, are slated to debut in July. The documents will be issued through municipalities, using special paper to combat counterfeiting. Plans are to eventually offer them digitally via app.
Under the diplomatic rule of reciprocity, countries are expected to mutually impose or lift entry measures. So Tokyo will need to ease its own entry requirements -- proof of negative tests within 72 hours and 14-day quarantines -- for such restriction-free travel to take off.
The thorny issue is how to treat vaccines not approved in Japan. Previous infections or the presence of antibodies could also be taken into account.
Domestically, the powerful Japan Business Federation, or Keidanren, proposes such perks as restaurant discounts and eased restrictions on travel. But this idea has not been embraced, at least for now, amid government fears of discrimination against the unvaccinated.
Different countries take different approaches for entry by international travelers. The U.S., for instance, requires all incoming air passengers to show negative COVID-19 tests or proof of recovery.
France allows people arriving from "green" countries, including Japan, to enter without restrictions if vaccinated. The unvaccinated must present proof of negative test results but need not go into quarantine.
Ten or so other countries, including Greece and Poland, waive quarantines for vaccinated people traveling from Japan, according to the Japanese government.
The European Union will launch its EU Digital COVID Certificate on July 1, allowing freedom of movement within the bloc.
Israel and certain parts of the U.S. require vaccination certificates to enter places like fitness centers and event venues.
But the documents have different designs, prompting calls for uniform rules. In a communique from their mid-June summit, the Group of Seven leaders recognized the need for "a set of common standards for travel including interoperability and mutual recognition of digital applications, testing requirements, recognition of vaccination status." The International Civil Aviation Organization is playing a leading role in this effort.