Entering Tokyo is about to become a lot easier for foreign airline passengers. Tokyo's Narita International Airport just introduced new technology that will streamline entry and departure procedures for foreign visitors at the hub. The change is being made in collaboration with Japan's government.
Passengers visiting Japan can now use facial-recognition gates and electronic customs services when entering and leaving the country at Tokyo's Narita International Airport. The change became effective back in end August. The use of facial-recognition technology had previously only been open to Japanese citizens.
Any passenger choosing to use the new option must have a passport with an electronic chip. Authorities at Narita will use chipped passports to automatically match passenger images with photos that are scanned from travel documents.
Passengers who are interested must first download the Customs Declaration App and complete the customs declaration procedures on their smartphones via the app. They can then go through the gates after having their QR code (generated on the app) and passports scanned by a reader.
Japan's government is hoping that visitors will be able to enjoy smoother experiences and shorter wait times when passing through busy Narita. The goal is to eliminate some of the stress that goes along with completing long-haul flights to or from Japan. It is no coincidence that new technology that is aimed at easing burdens for international travelers is arriving ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.
Narita received its first electronic gate for customs processing in April. However, it is only available at Narita's T3 as of right now. We do have word that Narita plans to add electronic gates in at Narita's T1 and T2 terminals by the spring. In addition, the technology is scheduled to arrive at other airports in Japan at some point by next spring.