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Japan developing tracking system for travelers from overseas as anti-virus measure

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Japan will require its nationals and foreign residents to quarantine for two weeks, show proof of a negative coronavirus test result within 72 hours of departure for the country and undergo another test upon arrival.

Good idea. Not including Japanese is like using a wire fence to keep out mosquitos. I wonder if the US will follow suit with Americans returning to the US.

28 ( +35 / -7 )

At last, they are having rules that apply to everyone, not just foreigners. Bit late though , the damage is done.

31 ( +35 / -4 )

Tracking for the Tokyo Olympics?

Using GPS but no more details so far? Call for more meetings, waste some more money.

19 ( +22 / -3 )

Japan is developing a system aimed at keeping track of travelers from overseas

So non-Japanese travellers (who I thought were banned anyway) will be "kept track of", but a Japanese citizen, resident in the UK or the US or anywhere else for years or even decades, can enter Japan and then travel where they like and without restriction or tracing. Seems that JP passport does confer magic immunity after all.

24 ( +30 / -6 )

Tracking for the Tokyo Olympics?

Make sure you get your tickets soon!

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Good idea. Not including Japanese is like using a wire fence to keep out mosquitos. I wonder if the US will follow suit with Americans returning to the US.

The last part of the article regarding the testing, yes. But it isn't clear if the tracking system applies to Japanese citizens and long-term residents. If it doesn't, the quarantine requirement is basically useless.

18 ( +19 / -1 )

A normal employed man gets around 28 days holidays a year. 2 weeks quarantine at side and another two at other side. Its an Quarantine Holidays.

That's for mainstream travellers from the plane and ship. What about those underground travellers? Such a Spies and Pirates, are they going to be tracked?

6 ( +11 / -5 )

There won't be Olympic games... let's be honest.

25 ( +29 / -4 )

Japan is developing a system aimed at keeping track of travelers from overseas as part of efforts to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus within its borders, a senior government official said Sunday.

How will the system prevent the further spread of the virus? Does it test its user regularly and if the result is positive it immediately notify the authorities? It is just a contact tracing system. It will be very helpful in contact tracing but it cannot prevent the spread.

Or the travellers are only allowed to go to certain places so you need to track them.

Also unless the travelers are from China, Russia or countries which has no regard to privacy, good luck getting them to use it.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Too little, too late

14 ( +16 / -2 )

Are we still pretending that infections are coming outside the country? Okay. I'm on board!

10 ( +16 / -6 )

What about measures to slow down infection rates, any?

Or should we wait for the 12th Jan when everyone is back to their office to start having meetings about this?

11 ( +14 / -3 )

What a useless bs , bare of any logic. But maybe some buddies know too much and will get now a nice business boost for that development of tracking systems and devices. That only would make sense. lol

9 ( +11 / -2 )

Why not think about using for tracking Japanese citizens, who account for 99% of those with coronavirus here? And why should they be trusted not to use it for other purposes, like the Chinese, Brits and Americans do?

9 ( +14 / -5 )

D, V, and G variants, so far...G most concerning.. Early days though because in vitro experiment leaked fron a BSL3 setting in Wuhan that required a BSL4 environment

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Just trowing a keyword 'GPS spoofing'

Google it, and see how easy is to trick these apps.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

LOL

4 ( +4 / -0 )

An app based approach is not going to work. A hardware solution might? Working on ankle bracelets prototypes as we speak.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

All arrivals, Japanese citizens and foreign residents and business men, are requested to download the tracking app.They must also be tested on arrival and have 14 days quarantines.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Hmmm sounds like empty words and a deflection of the real reason cases are spreading. Why were these measures not implemented earlier? 11 months into a pandemic and we’re now finally talking about tracking arrivals? When I arrived in November no one asked to see my pre-departure health certificate and I was not tested upon arrival. One of the most baffling things I witnessed on arrival at Narita was that many of airport staff helping with arrival processing (seemed more like volunteers) had masks that were not properly attached (do people seriously not know how to wear a mask here!?) and they kept distributing pens among the arriving passengers to fill out forms. I saw one pen travel between eight different people with no sanitizing in between.

As for quarantine, the only instructions I received were “try not to use public transportation”. My wife who arrived last week, thankfully before the upcoming ban, said she received no instructions either, although she is isolating at home regardless. She just went through two separate quarantines in China and Hong Kong, the former you are locked in a hotel room with no way of escaping, the latter you need to wear an electronic monitor and will face a heavy fine if you breach quarantine.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

Taiwan started to do this back in April and it worked rather well. The app was a collaboration of government and volunteer (hacktivist types) working together to get this done. Taiwan also used other apps for enforcing quarantines of people who had contact with Covid positives, etc.

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-04-22/taiwan-offers-the-best-model-for-coronavirus-data-tracking

From the article:

In effect, the whole country voluntarily partnered with the government to create a protean network of databases in which information flows both from the bottom up and from the top down. To make new online and offline tools for fighting the virus, “hacktivists,” developers and citizens have been collaborating with the government on vTaiwan, a sort of online democracy town hall and brainstorming site. 

Sounds pretty cool...I am not sure if it would work in Japan or not for various reasons. Japan is larger both geographically and with a much bigger population and there are some cultural differences as well. I believe the leadership (National Government) of Taiwan is much more advanced than Japan in the skill sets required to implement something like this.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

One additional point....Taiwan was using the app for contact tracing Taiwanese.....not limited to foreign arrivals or Taiwanese arrivals from overseas.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

An outright entry ban would be much more effective and fair. With coronavirus cases hitting record high every day, the government still allows in business travelers from China, Korea, and other Asian countries. Business first, as usual.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Tracking app? And what happens if I just leave the phone at home while I go out shopping or taking a walk? Didn't some place (HK?) actually put those prison-like tracking contraptions around people's wrists at the airport?

Meiyouwenti:

outight ban? Including Japanese nationals?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

How the Japanese authorities treated those tourists stuck on that ship in Yokohama was just a preview of the cruelness and ineptitude to come.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

Tracking with these infection numbers is a waste of time but, importantly tough it is another window dressing method by government. The 1st tracing app never worked and now, we are in a development stage where it’s impossible to track cases back.

Now it is important to approve the vaccines and to start the inoculation campaign, while staying at home and taking all other prevention methods we all know by now.

to much logic in one comment?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Yep, close all airports only cargo allowed in. Contain the virus and deal with it. Same goes for every country in the world.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

it will function by using global positioning system technology

Expect lots of lost travellers, then.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

What about those of us who do not have smartphones, will we be denied entry for not having the right technology?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

Lat time Japan developed an app to help tracking the COVID-19 the servers went down and the app turned to be unusable.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What about those of us who do not have smartphones, will we be denied entry for not having the right technology?

Yes, of course.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Ahhh! Why i didint figured it out before !? Take 2 weeks holiday, come to japan and spend it in hotel room , after that back to uk! Brilliant! Amazing idea for 2021 holidays !

7 ( +7 / -0 )

My observations and dealing with the Japanese authorities in the past, leads me to believe that it is only a matter of time, before they misuse it.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

For me, a deaf person who can't use a cell phone and doesn't have one, that means no more annual 6-week adventures to Japan. No more visits to the young couples and their children who have become the dearest of friends. This is by far the dumbest thing I've read a Japanese politician utter. It's completely contemptible.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Very poor sentence structure "... Japan said it will ban nonresident foreign citizens from entering the country, which has been seeing record daily numbers of coronavirus cases in recent weeks."

This should read:

His comments on Fuji TV's "The Prime" news program came a day after Japan, which has been seeing daily record numbers of coronavirus cases in recent weeks, said it would ban nonresident foreign citizens from entering the country.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Most of the current infections (95+%) are locally transmitted with international travelers making up are rather tiny percentage! Such monitoring system is a good thing but more needs to be done to control the local transmission.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@TrevorPeace - I agree completely with your sentiments; they weren't thinking about deaf people at all. I'm in a similar predicament, because the "no public transportation" rules, even for getting back from the airport to your home, seem to assume that everyone has access to an automobile. I'm visually impaired (and married to someone who shares my impairment) and neither of us can drive a car; we live in the world's most dense megalopolis in part because nobody in Tokyo needs a car. It's a long walk from the "Tokyo" airport to the actual city!

There are very few lawmakers with any kinds of disabilities so of course the situations of people like us never even enter their minds when policy is made. Our only consolation is that they're pretty contemptuous of the entire population and not just us.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@TrevorPeace, assuming there are no exceptions for medical reasons I think you can bring your iPad and download the tracking app and use wifi or perhaps rent a cellphone at the airport. Don't give up yet.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

People walk in Tokyo's Asakusa tourist area on Saturday.

Looks like the Asakusa area isn't hurting for business with their usual sea of people.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Meanwhile millions getting vaccinated from today across the EU, and many complaining at this being a 'late start'. Second vaccine due for apporoveal any day in the UK and other countries. Here, travel bands, apps, illogical policy, and no serious fast-tracking of a vaccination.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Why develop a new system? Use what they do in Taiwan. Need to be strict with penalties too.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They will probably fast track the approval process.

But it will be hard to fast track anything if the applications aren't in yet, are they in yet? I honestly have no idea.

What I know is that even if the vaccines were approved here yesterday it will be useless as all supplies for the foreseeable future are already accounted for by other countries.

Maybe Japan can beg for the excess supplies ordered by other countries when they finish vaccinating.

Europe for example with population of around 450M has secured 2billion doses.

One country has secured around 9 times it's population.

There are many others but you get the idea

Minor details but it matters.

Pls correct if the figures are incorrect, a little tipsy now

2 ( +3 / -1 )

TrevorPeace

For me, a deaf person who can't use a cell phone and doesn't have one, that means no more annual 6-week adventures to Japan. No more visits to the young couples and their children who have become the dearest of friends. This is by far the dumbest thing I've read a Japanese politician utter. It's completely contemptible.

The tracking app is a request. If travellers arrive without a phone or a working phone they won't be able to download the app and won't be refused entry.

But Trevor, all tourists are banned from entering the country, so you won't be able to visit until that restriction is lifted. Japanese citizens, foreign residents living in Japan and a small number of business people.

By the time the restrictions for tourists are lifted the app won't be needed. Don't know what will happen if the Olympics go ahead?

People need to arrange private transport to take them directly home or a quarantine hotel.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Travelers from overseas, or travelers that have been overseas? Does this include Japanese people?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Just watch the system development contract go to Dentsu, NTT, Fujitsu or Hitachi and their subsidiaries. Maybe without an open bid.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Tokyo-Engr

I applaud Taiwan’s success in their handling of the virus, but the application of tracing technologies have less to do with a government’s government’s “skill set(?)” and more to do with questions of constitutionality. In the US for example, we have the same tracing technologies available, however there is no state with legislation that can force its citizens (and travelers) to download the apps (at least not yet). Requiring its citizens to download the apps and sign off on their constitutionally protected rights are among some of the basic legal questions that hinder full scale implementation in both the US and Japan. In my state, for example, the best govt can do is encourage its citizens to participate in certain tracing methods. I’m not sure if the same constitutional protections apply to international travelers so it may be possible for US states to force only foreign tourists to participate in more invasive forms of tracing (But I’m not sure). Either way, it has nothing to do with our government’s “skill set.” (not even entirely sure what this means)

I believe the leadership (National Government) of Taiwan is much more advanced than Japan in the skill sets required to implement something like this.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not too long ago, when south korea was using test, trace, treat program, some people here decried it as a horrible infringement on privacy and civil rights. Now japan wants to implement a far worst infringement on privacy and civil rights. What a difference a few months make. Now japan wants to make a tracking app many months after their first domestic cases and probably approaching the zenith of their outbreak? Like cramming for a test in the middle of the test. LOL!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"There will be no point if we don't implement it, so you will not be allowed to enter the country unless you use it," Takuya Hirai, digital transformation minister, said on television.

This quote sounds like a governmental idiot mumbling to his beer in a pub or like the complete tool that comes up with the NHK fee and sends the goons to your door to collect it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

since 'tracking' is predicated on the assumption that even when the all--singing all-dancing 5-ringed circus (definitely and without the shadow of a doubt) happens next summer, there will be people arriving in Japan with the virus, then it's not, to my way of thinking, an "anti-virus measure".... rather it's a case of a callous 'money-games-before-people' attitude.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Countries put too much emphasis on keeping foreigners out. If your own citizens simply followed the infection guidelines it wouldn't matter if an infected person came in. People forget that the spread of COVID-19 is enabled by those people who don't follow the guidelines. All the deaths, economic damage, and chaos can be prevented if EVERYONE follows the guidelines.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Having a negative test result from within 72 hours before departure, another negative test result upon arrival in Japan and 14 days quarantine starting the day after arrival in Japan have been the requirements for some time now. The numbers continue increasing and so these requirements are not helping. Start vaccinating people now - today, not wait until February.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just download the tracking app on an old iPhone and shut it off if privacy concerns you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Loveline: Regarding the skillsets which I am refering to Japan's last cybersecurity chief admitted in late 2018 that he had never used a computer. He said he had people to use a PC for him for his work activities.

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46222026

This pretty much sums it up in Japan. The ruling LDP and most of the key people are very old, not only physically but also their mentality. I believe it would take someone in a high position with some understanding (does not need to be an expert) of the technology to successfully lead the project, roll it out, and then technically explain the app/project in terms which a wide range of people can understand.

Given the current lineup of folks at Japan's national level I do not see the skill sets (those described above) to exist at this time. I am quite certain there are people in Japan who can do this but I do not think they are in the LDP or the government.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I swear I something elsewhere that the app would include monitoring of the device to assess character or something? Maybe I'm wrong, but Instagram has gone all out in a similar way with its new terms of service: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhSX7IzHkrE

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Tokyo-Engr

I repeat, what is undermining full implementation are constitutional questions. The “skill sets” you mention are irrelevant and tbh, I still don’t fully understand your explanation of a government’s “skill set” or how the concept of “skill” relates to the limitations of democratic governance and/or a state’s constitution? That Japan’s cyber security chief is not tech savvy likely has very little to do with the US and Japan’s tracking limitations. And btw, the tracing apps are not new exotic and sophisticated technologies. Anyone who has ever played Pokémon Go and/or used google maps is capable of understanding how it works.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Part 1:

Okay okay. Hmmmmm, I will speak logically and informative. Okay let’s get started. This virus is special, it’s more dangerous than the common flu. The whole population on Earth have to get vaccinated. Now, when will that take effect ? 2 - 4 years in rapid succession.

More likely 6-7 years - a lot of people are hesitant to get the vaccine. Tokyo Olympics have it or not have it. especially when you have wars going on in different countries and such.

well, guess what it’s going to be virtual if that is possible. Plus a lot of plastic sticks in the nose and vigorous testing.

Already Japan from the Olympics will lose millions of money. Stadium ticketing forget about it... virtual....

Plus, a lot of Olympic athletes will be exposed to their home country’s viruses, people with the virus and etc.

Onky a few countries I can see will participate. I would just cancel it and re-modify the Olympics.

Olympics will be in Tokyo but they have to re-modify the next Summer Olympic Games to another year or so.

Tokyo will have their Olympics but not this year. Just delay it a few years. Not next year. Maybe the year after 2022 ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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