For the first time, Japan will be using facial recognition technology to enhance security during a government-sponsored event. Government officials and journalists attending Emperor Akihito’s 30th anniversary ceremony at Tokyo’s National Theatre will need to register images of their faces ahead of the event on February 24th. Those images will then be matched with the real faces of guests by a facial recognition system prior to entry.
The Japan Times reports that the move is intended to streamline the identification process and minimize the threat of terrorism. Upward of 1,000 people are expected to attend, though higher-level politicians such as cabinet ministers and the heads of municipal governments will be exempt from the facial recognition screening.
Japan has already announced plans to use a similar facial recognition system for entry during the Tokyo Olympics, making the ceremony for the emperor a trial run for the enhanced security measures. If all goes well, the government will use the system again at an event for the incoming Crown Prince Naruhito on October 22nd (Emperor Akihito is scheduled to end his 30-year reign on April 30th).
Facial recognition technology can currently be found in Japanese airports, casinos, and ATMs. The latest news indicates that the Japanese government is still bullish on the potential for biometric identification.
Source: The Japan Times
February 20, 2019 – by Eric Weiss