Japan considering ABC kiosks using facial recognition

Facial recognition to replace current fingerprint check

Japan is considering automated border control kiosks using facial recognition.

The machines could be installed in 2017 and are needed to help cope with rising numbers of foreign passengers. The kiosks would be for Japanese citizens and allow passport control staff to spend more time with foreign passengers.

The Japanese government is expecting more people to visit Japan ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

As reported in PassengerSelfService.com in August the government planned to hold the trials from August 4 through September 5 featuring five participating companies.

The trials were conducted at Narita International Airport and Haneda airports involving 22,341 volunteers aged 13 and older.

The rate of passengers not correctly identified dropped to as low as 0.26 percent for the best of the machines tested, the ministry said. A 2012 trial saw a machine-made by one of the five companies produce an error rate of 17 percent.

Biometric recognition machines compare images of arriving passengers’ faces with facial photo data encrypted in chips in their passports. Failed identity matches during the tests resulted from people wearing glasses or when hair overlapped their eyebrows, according to an immigration official.

Japan introduced automated passport control kiosks in 2007 for Japanese passport holders and some foreigners living in Japan. They allow passengers to bypass manned passport control counters and go through fingerprint-based machine checks.

Now available at four international airports for Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, they require fingerprint registration in advance and the number of users has not been growing.

Facial recognition is generally seen as the most accurate and most passenger friendly of the current biometric technologies for automated border control. The United Kingdom and the United States are rapidly increasing the number of facial recognition kiosks while Australia and New Zealand have led the way for many years.

N.B. Image credit: japantimes.co.jp

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