Japan, One of the Largest Tech Giants Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: COCOA
Japan is known to be one of the most powerful tech giants in the world, they were the first countries to understand the benefit and true power of technology. Amidst the occurrence of the COVID- 19 almost two years ago, Japan has released a contact tracing app that both iOS and Android users can access. Though it is currently used in Japan it was originally developed by Microsoft engineers, wherein both Apple and Google took part in developing.
Both citizens and non-citizens of Japan are currently using a smartphone app that enables a person to receive notifications about possible contact with someone infected by the virus. The Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare in Japan refer to this app as COCOA or the COVID-19 Contact Confirming Application. Through a Bluetooth connection or known as a short-range communication function, the possibility of contracting the virus can be detected. The Bluetooth-based mobile contact-confirming app installed in smartphones detects proximity to another smartphone with the same app, within approximately 1-meter distance for 15 minutes or more when turned on. It is then encrypted and registered using shortcodes and constantly changing making it incognito, operating the app ensures the anonymity and privacy of the person who tested positive, and after 14 days the code is then disabled. Moreover, the app also does not allow the government to use GPS to track people, centralize data or collect information including phone numbers and names, maintaining the country’s reputation as one of the most privacy-savvy nations across the Asia Pacific. Users can also have a choice to delete records through deleting the app installed.
The app still depends on the users, a person can register that they have been tested positive with their own consent. It is only then that a person with close contact with the positive individual can receive a notification that includes instructions that will be displayed on the screen, guidance, and supportive care including testing, isolation, and recommended quarantine period.