• Kyodo

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Few passengers are using the fast-lane immigration service at Narita International Airport, four months after Tokyo’s main gateway became the first airport in Japan to introduce the service, the transport ministry and the airport’s operator said Saturday.

The average number of daily users stands at 10 after the airport in Chiba Prefecture launched fast lanes on March 30 targeting foreign visitors such as conference attendees and VIPs.

A total of eight lanes were set up at Terminals 1 and 2, based on an estimate that each flight would bring about five users.

Passengers are allowed to enter the special lanes upon showing a coupon provided in advance by their carrier.

But some immigration officials say the airport should consider reducing the number because they often see only one passenger using the service a day.

The government initiated fast lanes as part of efforts to make Japan a tourism-oriented country ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The number of in-bound travelers has surged recently.

Similar services have been introduced at airports such as London’s Heathrow Airport and Singapore’s Changi Airport.

At Kansai International Airport in Osaka, which began a fast-lane service on the same day as Narita, an average of 50 passengers use the service a day.

The transport ministry is considering introducing fast lanes at other airports such as Tokyo’s Haneda airport.

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