Japan eateries to begin experimenting with using proof of vaccination

Oct 2, 2021 – 08:28 KYODO NEWS

An employee of a roast chicken bar in Nagoya, central Japan, peels off a paper notice of temporary business suspension from its window on Sept. 30, 2021, ahead of the lifting of the COVID-19 state of emergency at the end of the day. (Kyodo) ==Kyodo

TOKYO – The Japanese government will, from this month, start experimenting with using proof of COVID-19 vaccination at eateries and other places in 13 prefectures after it relaxed restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections.

The experiment, also to be carried out at sports stadiums, small live music venues and theaters, aims to confirm whether checking visitors’ proof of vaccination or negative test results can be conducted smoothly.

The experiment will also verify the procedures for responding to a situation when infections are found after events are held, with measures to include keeping a log of all visitors.

The experiment comes after Japan’s COVID-19 state of emergency was fully lifted Friday following a steady decline in new cases nationwide and the reduced strain on the country’s medical system. The government plans to ease restrictions in stages to bring back social and economic activities.

Using the experiment as a framework, the government aims to avoid imposing strict steps uniformly and continue economic activities even if the nation is hit by another wave of infections in the future.

Under the experiment, anti-virus measures will be eased if visitors prove they are either fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The government plans to conduct the experiment in the tourism sector in the future, it said.

At eateries, groups of five or more people will be able to dine together, and opening hours can be extended provided they are certified by local governments as having adopted the necessary steps to prevent infections.

The experiment at large-scale events will begin Wednesday at a J-League soccer match in Aichi Prefecture in central Japan, admitting spectators of more than 10,000, the limit currently adopted for one month by the government.

At such events, including gymnastics world championships, the government will employ technology able to detect the concentration of crowds and loud voices and the ratio of people wearing masks, it said.

Names of participating restaurants, bars, theaters, and music venues will be disclosed later, according to the government. The government will also measure the ventilation at such venues.

The 13 prefectures subject to the experiment are Hokkaido, Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Ishikawa, Shiga, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo, Fukuoka, Kumamoto, and Okinawa.

Cr. KYODO NEWS