Minister seeks smartphone vaccine certificates

Japan's Digital Minister Hirai Takuya says his agency plans to create a smartphone-based system to certify coronavirus vaccinations by the end of this year.

The government is studying ways to use vaccine certificates, and so-called vaccine passports, to help restore social and economic activity in Japan.

Hirai told reporters on Tuesday that within this year his agency plans to digitize vaccine certificates. Municipalities have been issuing these for international travelers on paper.

The new system will allow travelers to prove vaccination by showing QR codes on their smartphones.

He said the government also plans to create a domestic smartphone-based certificate by the end of this year for people who aren't traveling abroad.

The minister said discussions are going on about where to use digital certificates, in response to business leaders' requests. He said there's also a need to study how such certificates should be linked to smartphones.