• Kyodo

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Japan will follow Europe in introducing passports with a hard plastic page containing identity information to make them harder to forge, a Foreign Ministry official said.

The new security features will be incorporated in fiscal 2023, the official said Saturday.

Experts have been reviewing ways to improve passport security since 2014 as part of the ministry’s steps to prevent crime and terrorism.

After deciding to centralize passport issuance, which is currently conducted by each prefecture, the ministry has requested around ¥300 million from the fiscal 2017 budget to develop a new issuing system for the National Printing Bureau.

Centralized passport printing is recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organization. The ministry changes passport designs every five to eight years to keep security features up to date.

The next design change, scheduled for fiscal year 2019, will not include the hard plastic page that has since been adopted by countries including Germany and the Netherlands.

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