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Japanese airports to install biometric terminals for foreign visitors


Japan’s Justice Ministry plans to install mobile biometric terminals at various airports that will capture photos and fingerprints of foreign visitors while they are waiting in line at immigration control in an effort to expedite the process, according to a report by The Japan Times.

All immigration processing typically occurs at the inspection desks. However, the influx of foreign tourists has increased the wait times at some airport immigration control, which has been taxing for immigration authorities, said the ministry.

The new “biocart” terminal can send visitors’ images and fingerprints as well as passport data, to the inspection desk, while reducing the workload of immigration officers.

The ministry plans to install the terminals in all airports that offer international flights. It has already requested money to purchase the terminals in the fiscal 2016 budget, which will take effect April 2016.

The longest reported waiting time for immigration in the first half of the year was 36 minutes at Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, followed by 24 minutes at Haneda airport in Tokyo and Chubu Centrair International Airport in Aichi Prefecture, and 20 minutes at Narita International Airport near Tokyo, said the Ministry.

“Depending on the person, it may only take half the time it has taken now to get through immigration,” said a senior ministry official.

Previously reported, Japan’s Ministry of Justice will begin trialing facial recognition technology for automated immigration gates at the Narita and Haneda airports later this month to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

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