The Ministry of Justice plans to begin testing high-tech facial recognition software at automated immigration gates at Haneda and Narita airports from Aug 4 until Sept 5.
The tests will be limited to Japanese nationals holding passports with IC chips embedded in them, according to Japanese media. The software will scan facial data from the chips and match it with photos taken of the arriving passengers at immigration gates, the Nikkei reported.
The ministry's plans are just one facet of larger preparations being made for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Although an increase in the number of immigration officers will be needed, the software will assist with quickly separating and documenting the increased traffic through international ports.
During the test period, the ministry is asking for the cooperation of all travelers coming in and out of Haneda and Narita.
Another aspect of the software being tested is that it will attempt to photograph individuals as they walk through the airport, the Nikkei reported.
The ministry will present a summary of the data to the cabinet by the end of the year and determine whether or not the software will be appropriate for permanent use.
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.© Japan Today