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Japan has begun accepting applications for a 'vaccine passport' that allows holders to travel to five countries without quarantine

Date: 2021-07-27

Cities and villages across Japan began accepting applications for "vaccination passports" on Monday (local time), which are official certificates showing people's history of being vaccinated against COVID-19, Kyodo News reported. If they present the "vaccine passport" at an entry screening in a country where the certificate can be used, they are exempted from quarantine or PCR testing.

According to the government, the vaccine passport is currently only for use by people traveling overseas. As of July 21, the Vaccine Passport is available in five countries: Italy, Austria, Turkey, Bulgaria and Poland. In addition, Japan's "vaccine passport" has been recognized as one of the materials required for exemption from quarantine in Korea.

Those who want to apply for a vaccination passport can submit an application, passport and vaccination certificate at a window in a Japanese town or by mail. For the time being, it is limited to written applications and deliveries, and the government is exploring the possibility of electronic applications and post delivery displays on smartphones in the future. The handling fee for issuing the "vaccine passport" shall be borne by the state.

The Keidanren, the business federation of Japan, has proposed the use of the "vaccine passport" in Japan, including easing restrictions on entry to events and discounts at restaurants. However, there are concerns that it would place a heavy burden on local governments or cause undue discrimination against those who have not been vaccinated.

Some accommodation facilities and restaurants in Japan are offering discounts to people who present original certificates of having received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine.