National

Smartphone app for visa applications to be tested on Chinese visitors

JIJI

The Foreign Ministry said Friday it will introduce a smartphone app designed to simplify visa application procedures for Chinese visitors.

The new system will initially cover visa applications handled by the Japanese Embassy in Beijing.

Under the new plan, visa applicants will be asked to use their smartphone cameras to take pictures of passport pages showing their names, numbers and other personal information.

The app will automatically process data, input their personal information into the application forms and create QR codes.

Japan has seen a surge in Chinese visitors. In 2016, over 4.2 million visas to were issued to Chinese.

Foreign Minister Taro Kono told a news conference that the new system will make it easier for applicants to submit visa requests. It will also help embassy staff shorten the processing times by about 80 percent, he said.

Kono said his ministry is considering introducing the app to other countries and regions after testing it in China.