ANKARA 

Japan is considering whether to issue health certificates for international travel, though the country’s prime minister said on Monday that it was “too early to tell” whether authorities would lift coronavirus state of emergency from Tokyo and its three neighboring provinces.

“If requested internationally, we can issue inoculation certificates,” Taro Kono, Japan’s minister in charge for handling the novel coronavirus pandemic, told parliament, Kyodo News reported.

China has already started issuing such documents.

After receiving shipments of COVID-19 vaccines developed by US firm Pfizer and its Germany-based partner BioNTech, Japan launched its vaccination program last month, starting with frontline health workers.

Kono added that such travel certificates could be processed through government vaccine rollout management systems.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Suga Yoshihide told lawmakers that he would seek expert opinions to decide on whether or not to lift the state of emergency from the four provinces, NHK News reported.

The capital Tokyo has been the worst-hit province in Japan by the outbreak with a total of 115,584 cases after registering new 175 cases on Monday.

Japanese authorities imposed a state of emergency for the second time last January to stem the spread of the infection.

The country has reported 447,513 COVID-19 cases, including 8,590 deaths, since the outbreak began.

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