Japan plans to deploy mobile biometric terminals at airports to take photos and fingerprints of foreign visitors, cutting down the processing time at the immigration desk.
The terminals, called Biocart, will be installed at all airports with international operations, from April 2016.
After capturing the visitors' images and fingerprints, the terminals will send the information to the immigration desk.
The Justice Ministry expects Biocarts to reduce waiting time for travellers as well as ease the burden on the immigration staff.
According to the ministry, the longest waiting time for immigration during the first six months of this year was 36 minutes at Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture, 24 minutes at Haneda Airport in Tokyo and Chubu Centrair International Airport in Aichi Prefecture, and 20 minutes at Narita International Airport near Tokyo.
According to a report by Japan National Tourism Organization, the estimated number of international visitors to Japan in June 2015 was nearly 1.6 million, a 51.8% increase from the previous year.
Travellers from China increased 167.2% from 2014, Taiwan by 35.8% and Hong Kong by 75.4%.
In November 2014, Japan Times has reported that an experts committee has recommended the use of biometric technology to screen foreign passengers, as identity recognition technology has improved sufficiently in the country.
Image: Biocart will collect passengers' fingerprints. Photo: courtesy of Twobee / Freedigitalphotos.net.