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New app allows travelers to make paperless entry into Japan

Visitors and returnees to Japan will be able to go through simpler customs, immigration and quarantine procedures by using a new phone app starting next week, the country’s Digital Agency said Tuesday.

Travelers will not have to submit CIQ paper documents if they register themselves for the “Visit Japan Web” service, scheduled to launch on Monday and via smartphone and other devices beforehand.

Digitalization of entry procedures is expected to help reduce the risk of infection and burden on officials at airport CIQ facilities, which have been facing a shortage of staff.

Travelers who registered quarantine questionnaires and customs declarations, among others, containing their names, addresses, health conditions and other information via the app will only need to show their smartphones or other devices to officials upon their arrival.

The new service is expected to shorten the time of entry procedures, as officials will be able to see the traveler’s relevant information simply by scanning a QR code on their device.

The app will initially be available in English and Japanese, and the government will consider adding other languages later.

Japan, like other countries, has tightened its border controls amid the spread of the omicron variant of coronavirus, believed to be more transmissible than previous strains and able to evade immunity provided by vaccines.

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