Japan’s Ministry of Justice is all set to adopt automated airport immigration gates relying on facial recognition technology. This is being done to deal with increasing number of foreign visitors to the country that is hampered by lack of immigration officers. The facial recognition technology is likely to be operational as early as 2018.
Many of its airport automated gates are already functional using fingerprint readers on Japanese passport holders and long-term foreign residents. But there has been a general reluctance to provide fingerprints. The Ministry of Justice has been urging people to make more use of the gates by highlighting the ease with which users can get through without much hassle on the very day of their flight.
Though these fingerprint scanning gates have been installed at Chubu Centrair, Kansai International, Narita International and Haneda airports, there has been widespread resistance to providing finger prints with user rate being just about 4%. This is one main reason for the Japanese Ministry to make use of the facial recognition technology.
Unlike other biometric identification systems that require the registration of fingerprints or iris images, facial scanners are easy to use, can even read images taken from some distance and no previous registration is necessary to determine the facial photograph. This technology is already in use in the UK and Australia. The only problem in the system is its 17-percent error rate, which indicates that the system fails to recognize one in every six people! The reasons being environmental factors, equipment performance, poor instructions to users regarding positioning, brightness and location of the camera etc.
The government however is optimistic that given the increase in tourist influx into the country and with the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and Paralympics, things are likely to fall in place by 2018.
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