The government launched Friday a free smartphone application that alerts users when they may have been in close proximity to someone infected with the coronavirus.

While the app (for IOS devices, for Android devices) potentially raises privacy concerns, the government says it was designed with privacy in mind and that personally identifiable data are not collected from users.

"It does not collect personal data at all. People can use it without worry," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a news conference Thursday, encouraging people to download the app to help stem the spread of COVID-19.