Japan Poised to Introduce Coronavirus Contact-Tracing App

Politics Lifestyle

Tokyo, May 8 (Jiji Press)--The Japanese government on Friday chose a technology for the introduction of a smartphone app that informs users if they had close contact with people infected with the novel coronavirus, boosting its efforts to put the app to practical use.

The app will be based on a technology jointly developed by Apple Inc. and Google. It will utilize Bluetooth signals to record smartphones that get close to a user's smartphone. When a user tests positive for the virus, the app sends notifications to people who had been close to the infected person.

Such an app has already been introduced in Singapore and elsewhere. In Japan, however, there are concerns that the use of such an app may lead to privacy violations.

In a nod to such concerns, the planned app will not collect data that can be used to identify an individual, such as locations and phone numbers. The government also plans to listen to experts about privacy protection and other issues.

On an internet show on Wednesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the introduction of the app "will improve measures against clusters of coronavirus infection and contribute to protecting the lives of users." In addition, he stressed the importance of protecting the privacy of users.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press