Photo/Illutration An application form for a COVID-19 vaccination certificate of the Hirakata city government in Osaka Prefecture (Takefumi Horinouchi)

Municipalities across Japan on July 26 started accepting applications for “vaccine passports” from people who are fully inoculated against COVID-19 and hope to travel overseas.

In general, applicants need to apply at service windows at the municipal government office that issued their vaccination vouchers. Some offices are only accepting applications sent through mail.

Vaccination vouchers, vaccination records of the two shots and passports must be included in the applications.

The vaccine certificate is an A4-size sheet of paper showing the person’s name, type of vaccine used and the dates of the inoculations. It will be issued free of charge.

The idea is that the certificates will exempt travelers from Japan from quarantine and other anti-virus measures after their arrivals in overseas destinations.

However, the Japanese government is still not making such exemptions for people who enter Japan with vaccine passports issued by other nations.

So far, five countries--Italy, Turkey, Austria, Bulgaria and Poland--have agreed to exempt arriving travelers with the Japanese vaccine certificate from some of their infection-prevention requirements.

Italy, for example, will not require such arrivals to remain isolated for 10 days, while Turkey will not require them to submit a certificate of a negative PCR test.

In South Korea, the Japanese vaccine passport will be accepted as one of the necessary documents to be exempt from quarantine.

Estonia also recognizes the Japanese certificate, but quarantine measures there are not required for travelers, regardless of their vaccination status.