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

The experiment, which will also 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.

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

The move comes after Japan’s COVID-19 state of emergency was fully lifted Friday following a steady decline in new cases nationwide that reduced the 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 restaurants, 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, admitting more than 10,000 spectators, the limit currently adopted for one month by the government.

At these events, including the 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 the venues.

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

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.