Japanese criticize vaccine passport application for lack of maiden name support

A COVID-19 security measures notice is pictured next to closed doors in a departure hall at Narita International Airport on the first day the borders are closed to prevent the spread of the new variant of the Omicron coronavirus in Narita, east of Tokyo, Japan on November 30, 2021. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon

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TOKYO, Dec.21 (Reuters) – The Japanese government’s digital agency apologized on Tuesday for the shortcomings of a new COVID-19 vaccine passport application that drew criticism from opposition lawmakers and users alike. line for his inability to handle maiden names.

The smartphone application, downloaded more than 250,000 times since its launch on Monday by the Japanese digital agency, only works for those who have received the so-called MyNumber identity cards held by around 40% of the population. Read more

But it was found to be unable to download data from those using a maiden name or alias, prompting an apology in a Twitter post from the agency, which promised to resolve the issue in the “future. close”.

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In a letter to the agency, the opposition Democratic Constitutional Party said: “The Digital Agency is sorely lacking in gender equality perspectives in the first place, for launching it in this way.”

The vaccine passport application is part of Japan’s plan to reopen the economy and resume travel amid fears of a rebound in coronavirus infections and new variants.

Its launch by the agency, founded in September to improve technology in government, followed that of many countries and third-party versions rolled out by businesses and city officials.

Social media users complained about the app’s late launch and the inability to manage girl names has reignited a long-standing debate over Japanese laws prohibiting married women from keeping their last names.

Chubu University professor Atsuko Tamada was among those who criticized the app on Twitter and what its design revealed about the government’s position on gender equality.

“I think this is a problem from the point of view of protecting women’s rights,” Tamada told Reuters.

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Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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