Japan Planning To Use Face Recognition Technology For Athletes And Journalists At Tokyo 2020 Olympics

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The Japanese authorities are planning to use the automatic face recognition system at various sports and administrative venue during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to bolster anti-terrorist security during this mega event.

The system will cover about 300,000–400,000 people, including athletes, journalists, security officers, and officials, a source close to Olympic officials told the Japan Times. The system will be installed at nearly 40 venues. It will scan the faces of thousands of people and prevent unauthorized entry of intruders with stolen passes. After scanning the face of an athlete or a journalist, the system will determine if that individual was issued a valid pass for entry into a specific venue. Officials believe the system will also be useful in reducing the wait time for the athletes and in getting them to their destinations quickly. The technology won’t be used on spectators, according to the Japan Times.

The organizing committee will provide special ID cards with facial images to all individuals “involved with the games.” When a person with an ID card will enter a specific venue, the system will scan the face of the individual and compare it with the images stored in the database. If the system fails to find a matching image, it’ll trigger a warning for security personnel to investigate the individual.


According to the Japan Times, the NEC’s NeoFace facial recognition system will be used during the event. CaliBurger, a California-based burger chain, is already using this technology to identify its devoted customers. NEC’s technology is also being used at several airports in the world for the biometric exit of the passengers. NEC is known for designing highly accurate facial detection system capable of identifying even identical twins as well as individuals having undergone plastic surgery in the past.

Some people are not happy with such systems and have voiced their concerns regarding the misuse of facial data, according to Gizmodo. Many experts believe such data would eventually end up in the hands of the police and other law enforcement agencies. It is not yet clear how Olympic officials would address these concerns during the event.

The 2020 Summer Olympic Games are scheduled to be organized in Tokyo from July 24 to August 9, 2020. The event will be followed by the Paralympics Games that will be held from August 25 to September 6, 2020.