Japan has launched its COVID-19 contact-tracing app, which officials hope will help prevent a second wave of infections. The app has been besieged with various legislative challenges since work first began on it with the hopes of launching in early May. As Nikkei Asian Review reports, a government source involved in the discussions said, "We wanted to introduce the app when the sense of urgency was high among the public, but we did not make it in time."
The Japanese government hired a team of Microsoft developers to create the app, which uses core technology jointly developed by Apple and Google. Tokyo-based company Code for Japan was initially hired to lead the project, but conditions imposed by Apple and Google — namely that the software could only be managed by public health agencies — meant the project was eventually transferred to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare while another developer was found. Around a month’s worth of work had gone to waste and in the meantime, contact-tracing apps were rolled out by more than 40 other countries.