Japanese government to use facial recognition for Emperor’s anniversary event access

The government of Japan plans to use facial biometrics to verify the identity of officials and journalists at the Emperor’s upcoming 30th anniversary ceremony on February 24 to reduce waiting times and prevent terrorism, The Japan Times reports.

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the event in honor of Emperor Akihito, which will be the first government-sponsored event in the country to use the technology, according to the report.

Hundreds of government officials and journalists will be checked with facial recognition, having pre-enrolled images, by a system that officials said would take approximately ten seconds per person and deliver better than 99 percent accuracy. Political leaders will have a separate entrance procedure.

The government is also considering using the technology for other events it is in charge of, such as an upcoming ceremony to mark the ascension of Crown Prince Naruhito to the throne in October, following Emperor Akihito’s planned abdication.

NEC facial recognition is being used at several major international events happening soon in Japan, including the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics and the Rugby World Cup.

Japan’s government is planning to apply a tax of 1,000 yen (roughly US$9.25) to air travel and boat tickets to raise an estimated 50 billion yen ($450 million) in funding for its airport facial recognition initiatives.

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