ADM systems and the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan

Rolling updates on automated decision-making systems deployed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan. News items are displayed in reverse chronological order. 


Will new agency save Japan from 'digital defeat'? (NHK, Sep 2021)

"the country's handling of bureaucratic affairs during the coronavirus pandemic was dismal compared to other countries – to the point that Digital Transformation Minister Hirai described it a "digital defeat.""

Japan Will Begin Rolling Out Its Vaccine Passport This Summer (Forbes, Jun 2021)

"The initiative will begin with a paper version of the certificate and roll out later this year with a smartphone solution based on the European Union’s Digital Covid Certificate"

Flaw in Japan Covid vaccine booking system causes disarray (The Guardian, May 2021)

"A flaw in Japan’s coronavirus inoculation programme has been exposed barely a day after the government opened a facility in Tokyo designed to speed up the country’s slow vaccine rollout. (...) The defence ministry said the flaw stemmed from a failure to cross-reference data in its reservation system with that used by local governments"

Arrivals to Japan worry that flawed tech shows them as violating quarantine (The Japan Times, May 2021)

"Arrivals are asked to install a location-tracking app called Overseas Entrants Locator (OEL), with notification messages requesting location information and health status sent on a daily basis during the quarantine period. They are also asked to install other applications, such as one that notifies people of a close contact with those who have been infected. Those who fail to report are individually contacted by a monitoring team affiliated with the health ministry. But some users who have downloaded the apps say they are not working as they should"

ANA tests vaccination status app for travelers (NHK, May 2021)

"ANA is using a smartphone app, the IATA Travel Pass, developed by the International Air Transport Association. The test began at Tokyo's Haneda Airport on Monday. (...) ANA and Japan Airlines are also testing another digital certificate app, CommonPass, designed by the World Economic Forum and the Common Project Foundation"

Limited testing leaves COVID-19 app glitches overlooked (The Japan Times, Apr 2021)

"The health ministry on Friday released a report blaming limited testing for glitches in the government’s COVID-19 contact-tracing smartphone app that were overlooked for a prolonged period"

Japan spends millions on technology for absent Olympic fans (AP, Mar 2021)

"Japan’s top telecommunications company is getting 7.3 billion yen — about $67 million — in taxpayer money to design mobile tracking software to curb the spread of coronavirus infections during the Tokyo Olympics. There’s one catch: Few Olympic fans from abroad will be around to use it"

Japan gov't COVID-19 tracing app still incompatible with latest operating systems (The Mainichi, Mar 2021)

Concerns mount on trace app for potential foreign Olympic fans (Kyodo News, Feb 2021)

"The app will connect with the Foreign Ministry's electronic visa and Health Ministry's HER-SYS system that share information on those infected as well as a custom system in order to centralize information on foreign visitors' movements, health condition and COVID-19 test results. It will be compulsory for visitors to the Tokyo Games to possess smartphones and also have the app installed. In return, they will in principle be exempted from 14 days of quarantine and be free to use public transport"

Japan's flawed COVID-19 tracing app is digital black eye for Tokyo (Nikkei Asia, Feb 2021)

"The Contact-Confirming Application, or COCOA for short, was meant to ease the labor-intensive burden of tracking contacts on the staff at public health centers.  Since the app's debut, Japan has experienced a surge of coronavirus infections, with new daily cases approaching 8,000 at one point last month. If the app had worked properly, far more people would likely have been notified of potentially infectious contacts"

Glitches and design flaws limit value of Japan's COVID-19 tracing app (The Japan Times, Feb 2021)

"While the app is becoming more important than ever for containing the virus, figures suggest willingness among the public to download and use COCOA has been lukewarm at best — likely stalled by factors such as poor messaging by the government and reports of technical glitches. (...) Complaints about errors are nothing new for the program. It has been plagued by reports of technical glitches from the get-go, the latest example being an issue in which the app is reset to its newly installed state"

Japan COVID tracing app has failed in some cases since September (Nikkei Asia, Feb 2021)

"Japan's COVID-19 tracking application for some smartphone users has had a malfunction since September and has failed to pass on some notifications of suspected contact with people infected with the virus, the health ministry said (...). NHK reported that the bug affected about 30% of Android phone users."

Japan's contact-tracing app suspended again to fix input glitch preventing alerts (Japan Times, Jul 2020)

"The government’s COVID-19 contact-tracing application for smartphones has been temporarily shelved again to address a glitch that is preventing users from entering critical information to send out alerts"

Japan govt shuts down contact-tracing app after glitches (China Daily, Jun 2020)

"The free smartphone app which was launched last Friday by the health ministry and has been downloaded around 3.71 million times as of Tuesday morning, has been shut down temporarily following major glitches being detected in the software.  One of the bugs allows erroneous numbers not issued by public healthcare facilities to be accepted and registered by the app (...) Kato also highlighted another defect in the app related to the wrong download date being issued"


Latest update: Sep 2, 2021


Contact tracing apps, COVID certificate, Vaccine algorithms




Country analysis


#2021olympics #cocoa #digitalcontacttracing #digitalcovidcertificates