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Wednesday, 7th May 2014
In Japan Travel News,

Airports to test facial recognition technology

Facial recognition is slated to be tested at immigration control for Narita and Haneda airports this year, in a move that could make the process quicker for travellers entering Japan.

The technology is to be the subject of experimental trials this coming August, with the system to be used to identify Japanese people exclusively. However, such measures will free up staff members and allow them to focus on authorising foreign tourists to enter the country.

Extra resources will also be used to reinforce checks on foreign nationals, the Justice Ministry claims.

The system works by cross-checking photos of travellers against their actual faces and information on their passports, and was previously implemented under an experimental period in 2012.

However, due to a low accuracy rate, the Justice Ministry was forced to abandon the technology. It has been asked to restart the trials by the government as the system could prove useful during the 2020 Toyko Olympics, when foreign arrivals are set to skyrocket.

It is hoped that, following the five-week trial, the system will be introduced to Narita and Haneda as early as fiscal year 2017.

Facial recognition at the airports serving Tokyo is just the latest in a string of announcements designed to make things smoother for the Olympic Games, including new transport links to and from major transport hubs.

It is also hoped that a significant number of signs will be translated into English around the city centre, while restaurants are being encouraged to have menus in the language.

Written by Mark Smith


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