Japan airports test biometric-reading system

Country's Civil Aviation Bureau trials identification system using machines to read travelers' biometric details to confirm identity in two local airports.

Two Japanese airports are testing a new identification system that uses machines to read travelers' biometric data stored in their passports in a bid to speed up immigration procedures.

According to The Japan Times on Tuesday, Tokyo's Haneda airport and Chiba Prefecture's Narita airport will participate in the trial to determine if facial and other biometric data stored on electronic passports can be accurately read on machines to identify the holders.

Immigration officials will take photos and fingerprints of assenting travelers and compare these information against their passport data. The trial will only involve Japanese nationals and is to last until Sep. 30, according to the Civil Aviation Bureau of Japan's Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT).

Once the trial is concluded, the identification system will be checked for accuracy and effectiveness which should be done by end-March 2013, it added.

Biometric tools have become more accurate lately as the technology factors multiple body parts other than a person's fingerprints for authentication, industry observers previously told ZDNet Asia.