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Tests on new footwear security check machines start at Japan's Narita airport

An airport worker demonstrates footwear inspections using the new system at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture on March 15, 2021. (Mainichi/Tadakazu Nakamura)

NARITA, Chiba -- Tests on new footwear security inspection machines -- which can check boots, protective shoes and other footwear while travelers wear them -- began at Narita International Airport in Chiba Prefecture, near Tokyo, on March 15.

    Since September 2019, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism has required airports to conduct X-ray tests on some footwear to check if dangerous items, such as weapons and explosives, are hidden inside. Under current protocol, travelers remove their shoes, put them on trays for inspection and change into prepared sandals at security checks before boarding.

    With the new inspection machines, travelers do not have to take off their footwear, which will help cut inspection time and ease the burden on security personnel. Narita International Airport Corp. will continue the tests until March 30 and look to introduce the machines after verifying the results.

    (Japanese original by Tadakazu Nakamura, Narita Bureau)

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