The organising committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games has today (Tuesday) announced that a facial recognition system will be used at venues to enhance security during the events.

The system will be used to verify the identity of athletes, officials, other staff members and media representatives during the Games. It will mark the first time that such technology has been implemented during the Games and Tokyo 2020 said the move is in line with plans to deliver “the most innovative Games in history”.

The system will be provided by IT solutions company NEC Corporation, which is a gold partner of Tokyo 2020. Facial images of every accredited person will be stored beforehand in a database and then used to identify people at accreditation check points.

It is hoped that the system will help preclude spoofing, forgery and the use of lost or stolen accreditations, while also improving overall comfort and convenience.

Tokyo 2020 executive director of security Tsuyoshi Iwashita said: “The key to Games security is to prevent unauthorised people or items from entering venues. Tokyo 2020 will utilise an automated face recognition system for accredited people, a first for an Olympic or Paralympic Games, to prevent unauthorised access.

“This latest technology will enable strict identification of accredited people compared with relying solely on the eyes of security staff, and also enables swift entry to venues which will be necessary in the intense heat of summer. I hope this will ensure a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games and help athletes perform at their best.”

NEC Corporation senior vice-president Masaaki Suganuma added: “With our extensive experience and knowledge of biometric identification technologies, NEC is well placed to help ensure the Tokyo 2020 Games can be operated smoothly, safely and securely. NEC is a global leader in such technologies, including identification using facial images, iris scans, fingerprints, palm prints, finger vein, voice and ear acoustics, and has supplied more than 700 systems in over 70 countries and regions.”

Image: Tokyo 2020