Japan to use smart immigration gates for short-term foreign visitors

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Japan will use automatic immigration gates with a facial recognition system for short-term foreign visitors, the Immigration Services Agency said Tuesday.

Later this month, Haneda Airport will begin using the smart gates for departing foreigners who stayed in Japan for up to three months. Six other airports in the country will follow.

At present, the use of the gates is limited to checking Japanese nationals.

The government aims to raise the annual number of visitors to Japan to 40 million in 2020, when the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be held.

The government therefore hopes to streamline immigration procedures by using the gates and allocate more staff to passport control.

The remaining six airports are Narita International Airport near Tokyo, Kansai International Airport in western Japan, Fukuoka Airport, Chubu Centrair International Airport, New Chitose Airport in Hokkaido, and Naha Airport in Okinawa Prefecture.

At these airports, the gates will be made fully available for use for foreigners by July 2020.

The gates check facial photographs they take against images stored in integrated circuit-embedded passports for identity confirmation.

Japan introduced the gates in October 2017. Currently, the gates are used at five airports including Haneda and Fukuoka.Speech

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