Facial recognition technology to be used at Tokyo Olympics

Every accredited person including athletes will be required to use the system.

A facial recognition system will be used across an Olympics for the first time as Tokyo organisers work to keep security tight and efficient at dozens of venues during the 2020 Games.

The NeoFace technology developed by NEC will be customised to monitor every accredited person, including athletes, officials, staff and media, at more than 40 venues, games villages and media centres, Olympic and company officials said.

Tokyo will be the first Olympic host to introduce the face recognition technology at all venues.

The system is expected to effectively eliminate entry with forged IDs, reduce congestion at accredited waiting lines and reduce athletes’ stress under hot weather.

Olympics Tokyo 2020 Security
The new system is put through its paces (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

Tsuyoshi Iwashita, Tokyo 2020 executive director of security, said venues that are spread within and outside of the capital would be a big burden in achieving high levels of security.

“By introducing the face recognition system, we hope to achieve high levels of safety, efficiency and smooth operation at security check points before entry,” he said.

He added that the system would contribute to a less stressful environment for athletes.

Olympics Tokyo 2020 Security
All those accredited will be required to use the system (Eugene Hoshiko/AP)

Mr Iwashita said a test last year showed gate checks using the facial recognition was more than twice the pace of the conventional system using X-ray with visual siting by security guards.

The facial images of every accredited person for the Olympics and Paralympics will be collected after the approval process and stored in a database to be used to verify identities at accreditation check points.

NEC says its biometric identification technology is used at airports and elsewhere in 70 countries, including Japan.

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