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Tokyo Olympics organisers confirm use of facial recognition technology for 2020 Games

Tokyo Olympics organisers confirm use of facial recognition technology for 2020 Games
August 7, 2018

The organising committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic has announced that a facial recognition system will be used at Games’ venues to enhance security.

Marking the first time that such technology has been implemented during the Games, the system will be used to verify the identity of athletes, officials, other staff members and media representatives during the Games.

Its introduction is in line with the organiser’s plans to deliver “the most innovative Games in history”.

The system, to be provided by IT solutions company NEC Corporation, a gold partner of Tokyo 2020, will store facial images of every accredited person in a database prior to the events which will then be used to identify people at accreditation check points.

It is hoped that the system will help preclude spoofing, forgery and the use of lost or stolen accreditations, while also improving overall comfort and convenience.

It is anticipated that it will help increase security at more than 40 venues, including the media centre and Athletes' Village.

Introducing the technolocy to the media, Tokyo 2020 Executive Director of Security Tsuyoshi Iwashita said those who are accredited will be subjected to the facial security check every time they enter a venue, advising “the key to Games security is to prevent unauthorised people or items from entering venues.

"Tokyo 2020 will utilise an automated face recognition system for accredited people, a first for an Olympic or Paralympic Games, to prevent unauthorised access.

"This latest technology will enable strict identification of accredited people compared with relying solely on the eyes of security staff, and also enables swift entry to venues which will be necessary in the intense heat of summer.

"I hope this will ensure a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games and help athletes perform at their best."

NEC Corporation Senior Vice-President Masaaki Suganuma added “with our extensive experience and knowledge of biometric identification technologies, NEC is well placed to help ensure the Tokyo 2020 Games can be operated smoothly, safely and securely.

“NEC is a global leader in such technologies, including identification using facial images, iris scans, fingerprints, palm prints, finger vein, voice and ear acoustics, and has supplied more than 700 systems in over 70 countries and regions.”

Facial recognition technology was also provided by NEC at the 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei.

Image courtesy of Tokyo 2020.

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