The Justice Ministry is studying ways to make immigration procedures simpler and faster at the nation's airports.
Justice Minister Hideo Hiraoka said that discussions are being held with immigration security personnel to devise a plan that will involve automatic identity checks at airports, according to a Fuji TV report.
Hiraoka said that the government is considering an automated gate system that would cross-reference the identities of foreign tourists against a database of fingerprints and facial characteristics of registered foreign workers in Japan.
He said the proposed system is devised to speed up the immigration process in order to cope with increasing numbers of tourists to Japan in the future.
Japanese nationals will also be able to pass through automated gates at immigration control, Hiraoka added.
Ministry officials said that many people arriving at Narita airport -- both foreign nationals and Japanese -- have complained about the long lines at immigration, especially during peak times when several aircraft arrive one after the other. Adding to the delays are numerous cases where fingerprint scanners don't work the first time.
Hiraoka has promised an interim report from the discussions by the end of the year, Fuji TV reported.© Japan Today