Tokyo 2020 athletes, staff, media to be screened with NEC facial recognition

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will deploy NEC facial recognition technology at game venues to screen athletes, staff and journalists, the Japan Times reports.

The technology is expected to increase security by preventing the use of ID cards which have been borrowed, stolen, or forged, and possibly also to reduce wait times. Unnamed sources told the Times that the entry process for spectators will be the same as previous Olympics.

Between 300,000 and 400,000 people are expected to receive ID cards with photographs for automated recognition.

The system was tested at the Japan House information center during the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. The report touts NEC’s technology as among the world’s most accurate, and capable of distinguishing identical twins and people who have undergone cosmetic surgery.

At the Rio Games, staff and security personnel visually checked individuals’ faces against their photo IDs at designated security checkpoints, which led to some delays and frustrations, according to the Times.

As previously reported, Japan’s Immigration Bureau and Ministry of Justice deployed Panasonic facial recognition gates to verify the identity of returning travelers in October.

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