ID :
Tue, 07/13/2021 - 01:29
Auther :

Japan to Issue Vaccine Certificates for Overseas Travel

Tokyo, July 12 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government will start accepting applications for certificates issued to novel coronavirus vaccine recipients at municipal offices across the country from July 26. The government's move, made in hopes of ensuring smooth overseas travel, comes in response to a request from economic organizations to introduce "vaccine passports" as soon as possible. The government, at the same time, plans to make efforts to prevent the vaccine passports from being issued for purposes other than overseas travel, through measures such as asking applicants where they plan to travel to, reflecting concerns that issuance might lead to discrimination and vaccinations of people against their will. Those seeking the certificate will need to submit application forms and their passports to the cities, wards, towns and villages where they were registered as residents at the time of their inoculations. The vaccine passports will be issued free of charge for the time being, and applicants will be able to receive their certificates as quickly as within the day of application. The central government will also prepare to digitize vaccine passports in order to facilitate paperwork. Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato called for people's cooperation on applications so that local governments are not overburdened with paperwork. "We ask that people apply (for the vaccine passports) only if they plan to travel to countries and regions allowing relaxed quarantine measures with the certificates," the top government spokesman said. A list of nations and regions that accept vaccine passports will be released on the Foreign Ministry's website. Meanwhile, when they return to Japan, people with the certificates will still have to submit the results of coronavirus tests taken within 72 hours of departure. Some countries have called for mutual recognition of vaccine passports, but Kato said, "We are currently not at a stage where we can reveal details on such a situation." Japan's economic world is pushing for the use of the certificates as discount coupons in the country to help achieve a turnaround for restaurants and the tourism industry, which have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. On the other hand, some have said that such a move may fuel discrimination as eateries and stores may refuse customers' entry if they do not have vaccine passports. "Vaccinations should be done in line with people's decisions," Kato said, adding that people should not be forced to be vaccinated, nor should they face unjustifiable discrimination for their choices. END