Customs procedure system with face recognition at more airports

11th July 2019
Alex Lynn

NEC Corporation has announced an order from Japan Customs, under the Ministry of Finance, for an electronic customs procedure system utilising face recognition to be installed at the customs inspection areas of six major airports in Japan: New Chitose Airport, Narita International Airport, Haneda Airport, Chubu International Airport, Kansai International Airport and Fukuoka Airport.

This electronic customs procedure system utilises NEC's face recognition technology, which boasts very high recognition accuracy, and has already been put into operation at Narita International Airport Terminal 3 as of April 15th of this year. Japan Customs is now expanding this system throughout six major airports, which account for approximately 90% of the annual passengers entering Japan, aiming to commence operations from March 2020.

This system is designed to accelerate the customs procedures at leading airports, where NEC's face recognition technology can confirm travellers' identities when using the system's electronic declaration terminal and passing through exit gates. Moreover, NEC aims to further accelerate customs procedures by enabling baggage to be reported electronically through the use of smartphone applications.

Going forward, it is expected that the number of international visitors entering Japan will continue to rapidly grow. As part of this, NEC will utilise its cutting-edge biometric technologies to reduce the congestion of customs inspection areas and shorten waiting times.

About the Electronic Customs Procedure System

The electronic customs procedure system consists of customs declaration apps which simplify customs and declaration procedures for baggage, an electronic declaration terminal, and an exit gate that enables passengers to pass through using face recognition.

1. Exit gate equipped with facial recognition technology

The exit gate is equipped with NEC's AI engine ‘NeoFace’, which is the core technology of NEC's biometric identification portfolio ‘Bio-Idiom’, and has reportedly won the world's number one recognition accuracy. The system operates by taking a facial image at an electronic declaration terminal installed at the customs inspection area, this image is then matched with a facial image that is taken by a face recognition camera at an exit gate. 

Since the face of a person approaching an exit gate is continuously photographed, walk-through authentication is possible, without requiring travellers to stop. Smooth identification contributes to reducing the congestion of customs inspection areas and shortening travellers' waiting time.

2. Customs declaration apps and an electronic declaration terminal

Customs declaration apps and an electronic declaration terminal enable efficient and easy electronic declaration for customs inspections. Travellers enter the contents of their portable goods with customs declaration apps, obtain a QR code, and then read their passport and the QR code with an electronic declaration terminal installed in the customs inspection area. This is considered more simple and easy when compared to preparing conventional forms for the "Declaration of Personal Effects and Unaccompanied Articles".

In addition, during operation of the electronic declaration terminal, a traveller is photographed with a built-in camera and checked against their facial image embedded in the IC chip of their passport.

The facial image taken at the terminal is only used for identification processes and is deleted in an appropriate manner after use.

NEC has positioned its safety business as an engine for global growth under its three-year Mid-term Management Plan through fiscal 2020. NEC has already provided biometric identification systems, including facial recognition, to approximately 50 airports around the world. NEC will continue to strengthen its efforts to develop solutions and services in support of the ‘NEC Safer Cities’ business domain and contributing to the realisation of safe, secure, and prosperous communities.

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