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On July 26, municipal governments across Japan started accepting applications for COVID-19 vaccination certificates. These documents are for people to travel overseas and are also known as “vaccine passports”.
A vaccine passport certifies that holders are fully vaccinated, ensuring they are exempt from self-isolation requirements or are subject only to relaxed measures upon arrival at a number of foreign destinations.
Currently, Japan has agreements with Italy, Austria, Sri Lanka, Slovakia, Saint Christopher and Nevis, Saint Vincent, Thailand (Phuket, Samui, Pha Ngan, Tao, only), Germany, Turkey, Papua New Guinea, Bulgaria, Belize, Poland, Hong Kong, Honduras and Lithuania. South Korea accepts Japanese certificates but requires additional documentation.
You can apply for the certificate with the municipality where you are registered. Municipal authorities will then confirm your vaccination record before issuing the certificate free of charge.
You must present the application with your passport, government-issued vaccine coupon, and vaccine record. A paper form certificate is then issued.
The certificate is only needed for travel to countries with which Japan has agreements. If you need to confirm your vaccination status for non-travel purposes, you can use the vaccine record on your vaccine coupon. For additional details, please contact the municipal government where you live.
Japan is currently in talks with other governments to extend recognition of the vaccine passport. The foreign ministry says it will update its website as it reaches agreements with additional countries and territories.
The passports' scope
The World Health Organization has asked national governments not to use vaccine passports as an essential condition for entry or departure, since a global vaccine shortage means many people have been unable to get inoculated.
In some countries, people have called for vaccine passports to be required for entry into gyms and event venues. Japan's health ministry says it is not considering such a step for business establishments as it would affect people who are unable to get vaccinated due to allergies or other reasons.
Health ministry advisory
Japan's health ministry has posted the following notes on its website:
- Receiving vaccines should be a matter of individual choice. A certificate program is not designed to force people to be vaccinated.
- A certificate is not a determining factor on whether you can travel abroad.
- People should apply only when they travel to countries and territories where the certificate eases testing or quarantine requirements.
- Having the certificate doesn't mean you can travel to any country or territory under eased requirements. Check the website of the foreign ministry to see who accepts the certificate.
- The certificate does not ease testing and self-quarantine requirements when entering Japan.
This information is accurate as of Aug.11, 2021.