WORLD Japan's PM Suga apologizes for flaw in COVID-19 contact-tracing app

WORLD

Japan's PM Suga apologizes for flaw in COVID-19 contact-tracing app

Xinhua

21:03, February 05, 2021

TOKYO, Feb. 5 (Xinhua) -- Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Friday apologized for the government's failure to discover a technical flaw in a contact-tracing app for COVID-19.

People wearing face masks sit in a train in Tokyo, Japan, on Nov. 12, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

The contact-tracing app "COCOA", launched in June last year by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, uses Bluetooth wireless technology to compile records of people who have been within a distance of one meter from each other for over 15 minutes.

The app notifies users if they have been in the close contact with other users who registered positive test results for the coronavirus on the app.

However, the app was found to have failed to notify Android smartphone users who have been in close proximity to infected individuals since last September.

"I'm deeply sorry ... It is my responsibility to thoroughly look into the matter so it never happens again," Suga said at a House of Representatives committee meeting.

But the Japanese leader dismissed calls from opposition parties for health minister Norihisa Tamura to be disciplined.

The glitch deals a fresh blow to Suga, who has vowed to make digital technology the focus of the country's growth strategy. His approval ratings have recently plunged amid public dissatisfaction with the government's measures to control the pandemic.

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