Japanese Authorities Announce Biometric Airport Scanning for Departing Visitors

“The system will be used only for foreign visitors staying in Japan for up to three months; other face-scanning eGates have been in place for Japanese nationals since the autumn of 2017.”

Japanese Authorities Announce Biometric Airport Scanning for Departing Visitors

Japanese authorities continue to step-up the use of biometric border control and visitor processing ahead of next year’s 2020 Tokyo Olympics, with the Immigration Services Agency announcing this week that facial recognition will be used to scan short-term international visitors who are leaving the country.

The technology will be employed through automated eGates, with an initial launch planned for July 24th at Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Scanners will analyze travelers’ faces and compare them to the biometric data contained in their ePassports, clearing the way for them when a match is found. The system will be used only for foreign visitors staying in Japan for up to three months; other face-scanning eGates have been in place for Japanese nationals since the autumn of 2017.

Authorities have multiple aims in embracing this kind of biometric technology at Japan’s airports, including enhancing security and coping with increasing traveler volumes. A particularly high volume of travelers is expected during next year’s Olympic and Paralympic games.

Officials haven’t yet disclosed their supplier for the biometric system, but have stated that the technology’s verification process takes only 15 seconds. On that note, it is perhaps worth noting that, concerning biometric eGates, government authorities opted for biometric technology from Panasonic in the first half of 2018, and later brought in face scanning technology from NEC.

Beyond the system’s initial deployment planned for Haneda airport, further deployments are scheduled for Narita airport on August 27th, Kansai International Airport on September 25th, and Fukuoka Airport on October 8th. Deployments at Chubu and New Chitose airports are expected in November, with another deployment at Naha Airport in July of 2020.

Sources: The Japan Times, Japan Today

July 2, 2019 – by Alex Perala