Mobile fingerprint terminals to speed up immigration process at airports

Kyodo

The Justice Ministry plans to start using mobile terminals at airports that will take photos and fingerprints of foreign visitors while they are waiting in line at immigration control in a bid to speed up procedures at the inspection desks.

All immigration processing usually takes place at the desks. But with more foreign tourists visiting the country, the waiting time has increased at some airports, making it a pressing issue for immigration authorities, according to the ministry.

The new terminal, called the “biocart,” can send visitors’ images and fingerprints to the desk along with their passport information. It is also expected to reduce the workload of immigration officers.

The ministry plans to install the terminals in all airports with international flights. It has requested money for the equipment in the fiscal 2016 budget, which will take effect next April.

According to the ministry, the longest waiting time for immigration during the first half 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.

“Depending on the person, it may only take half the time it has taken now to get through immigration,” a senior ministry official said.