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2020 Tokyo Olympics to use facial recognition for athletes, reporters

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will use facial recognition to enable the entry into venues of athletes, officials and journalists covering the events in a smooth and safe way, organizing committee insiders said Saturday.

    The facial recognition will not target spectators, who will be asked to show their tickets and have their luggage checked as in previous Olympic Games, said the insiders who declined to be named.

    The organizing committee will use ID cards with a face photo for the athletes and those involved with the Olympic and Paralympic Games, estimated to number around 300,000 to 400,000.

    When they enter the venues, their face will be automatically checked to see if it matches the features in the photo. The verification will make it difficult to enter using stolen or forged cards, while the technology is also expected to reduce waiting time.

    The Japanese Justice Ministry introduced gates with facial recognition for immigration screening of Japanese passengers at Tokyo's Haneda airport in October.

    The Tokyo Olympics is scheduled to be held between July 24 and Aug. 9, followed by the Paralympics from Aug. 25 to Sept. 6.

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