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Narita airport ends ID security checks for non-passengers

26 Comments

Narita International Airport on Monday abolished ID checks for non-passengers at the airport in Chiba Prefecture.

Since the airport opened in 1978, cars and buses have been stopped at various points, with occupants having to show ID such as passports, even if they weren't departing on flights. Drivers were also required to get out and open the trunk of their cars. The ID checks at railway ticket gates have also been scrapped.

The checks were put in place early on because of violent protests against the airport by farmers and radical groups opposing the government taking their land. Officials determined that security efforts at the airport would have to be a maximum priority in order to ensure safe and smooth operations. As a result, all visitors to the airport have been subjected to long lines, thorough baggage checks, and large numbers of security personnel at each stage of entering and exiting the terminals.

Airport officials said new high-tech camera-based surveillance systems will use face-recognition technology, track license plate numbers and perform other tasks that in the past, have required a great deal of money and man-power, Sankei Shimbun reported.

Another reason for the change is that government officials feel the old way of enforcing security measures at Narita Airport may present serious problems during the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics as record numbers of foreign tourists are expected to be in attendance.

A state-of-the-art camera surveillance system consisting of 330 individual cameras will be used with 190 of the units dedicated to facial recognition and related tasks, while the other 140 would be monitoring the exterior of the buildings and tracking license plate numbers, suspicious behavior and other relevant security information.

© Japan Today

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26 Comments
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Does this also mean an end to the ID check point when we arrive via Keisei or JR Lines at NRT? It doesn't mention that but I'm guessing it would make sense, yeah?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Swapping Big Brother for Bigger Brother. Read past the headline.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

About time

2 ( +4 / -2 )

For the past decade, this seemed more a formality than any serious check. The inspectors barely glanced at the ID photos of people on the buses. Now we can look forward to Big Brother watching us with the eye in the sky. Every day we move closer to 1984.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Yes, it does.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A generation behind! SANFU!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

People are now free to dress up in farmer and student radical cosplay garb and flash mob Narita.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Really. Why bother with this when you don't even check IDs of passengers boarding domestic flights? Never figured that one out...

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Long overdue.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Always thought that was rather silly. In my 25 years of traveling the passport was only given a conciliatory glance.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is quite ironic. Why are they shutting down the checkpoints when only few months ago, a radical Islamic militant group publicly denounced Japan's role in the Middle-East, by beheading two of its citizens?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

They only ever asked for my passport, never my wife's, even when I was dropping her off for her flight! From what I recall, all the protests and acts of violence near Narita were conducted by Japanese citizens, not foreigners!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

now i can finally wear my Worzel Gummidge outfit when travelling from Narita?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The year 2020 is quite far away. Sure this is not about saving some yen in not pay workers who are doing the job now? Let's see if any problems occur due to not checking!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Every time I went through the gates at Narita be it by a car or on a bus I wondered how much money was wasted paying the cops just standing there ( instead of being used more effectively elsewhere ) and the private guards performing these useless formality checks. I guess the only reason it took so long to get rid of it is because some retired high level amakudari boys were pulling in a lot of dough through the Narita contract.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I remember when some tool at immigration (going OUT of the airport) tried to request to see everyone's foreigner card AND their passport.

I told him that, as I had my passport with me, I didn't have my foreigner card, and there was nothing he could do about it.

I also remember the infamous keystone cops at nature asking to see people's id after they had done so before entering the airport AND after checking in. One idiot officer tried to interrupt a whole tour group of Chinese tourists while they were checking in. The flight staff politely told him to "please wait" while she herself checked everything.

He then tried to ask another group of Chinese tourists, who laughed at him and told him that their tour guide had them, but he was in the toilet.

He then tried to ask me, until i asked for his id first, whereby he politely withdrew and slunk away.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A generation behind! SANFU!

SANFU?

The year 2020 is quite far away. Sure this is not about saving some yen in not pay workers who are doing the job now? Let's see if any problems occur due to not checking!

2020 is only five years away. I think you'd agree that it would be better to find and fix the bugs in the system BEFORE 2020, ね.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yeah, Haneda and other international airports do not have this system. I guess it was indeed a deterrence for the terrorists of those days, the farmers.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Same as Paul I was so sick of their targeting non-Japanese for re-checking in the airport itself when the very reason those checks were implemented was due to Japanese citizens. (pro-tip: if you exclaimed "mata?!" loudly they would think you'd already been checked & waived you on. Excellent "security")

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Never heard of SANFU however have heard of SNAFU- Situation Normal All Fouled Up! Japan has all the latest gizmos & doodads to check out any one or thing arriving or departing Narita & could have done this long ago.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I wondered how much money was wasted paying the cops just standing there

They will still be there. There are cops, security guards and military standing in all international airports, just in case.... or just to show there is a safety effort.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I got to experience this hassle free passage at NRT today

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I never had a problem driving through security, they usually just waved me through. Haneda used only do domestic flights but now it ls like before Narita but without the security. The Olympics should increase security not decrease it. Don't see how camera's help if you don't know what the terrorist look like. It may be good after the face but then it's too late. I suppose it not possible to defend Narita or any of the airports, especially Kansai. All you need is a surface to air missile and Haneda is a better target since you ware more likely to have the plane crash in a populated area and you can do from a boat. Japan isn't secure on it's shores so anything can come in and out. When security checks passports and id they are also looking at the person more than the id. Is there something suspicious. But now there will be no checks and we will see how good Japanese security is in the coming years and especially during the Olympics.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

" They will still be there " Don't get me wrong, I'm quite happy to have cops and security pro actively patrolling the terminals and vicinity. However, the current arrangements with all the manpower at the road checkpoints for the intended purpose of stopping potential farmer protesters and performing ID checks on every single person were outdated and of no practical use. I haven't been to any other airport in the world where family members going to send someone off or pick them up have to stop and show ID,s to drive through the gates. I mean the ID,s are not checked against any database or anything. They are just glanced at and returned...No practical purpose.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I got to experience this hassle free passage at NRT today

That's great, all you need to experience is the hassle of the one hour+ trip from Tokyo to NRT.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Misleading title, security check doesn't end, everyone's faces and lic numbers are just logged for all eternity instead.

And while slightly tedious, I never experienced any long lines at the checks. They are pretty casual and usually content with a glance at your passport, I never even had to stop walking.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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