Japan is said to be planning to expand the use of facial recognition technology at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games as part of COVID-19 combatting measures.

Japanese news agency Kyodo, citing government sources, said the technology originally intended to securely identify Games personnel and the media, along with detecting suspicious activity, is being assessed for use on spectators.

It is reported that one plan is to locate security cameras equipped with the technology at Games stadia and arenas to record spectators’ faces and body surface temperatures, and determine if they are wearing masks.

The recorded data is expected to help prevent potential cluster infections, by enhancing contact tracing of those who may have been in contact with a person found to have tested positive for COVID-19.

The data will be deleted following the Games to tie in with privacy protection rules, with the measures expected to be included in an interim report from the government’s COVID-19 countermeasures council that is expected by the end of the year.

Tokyo 2020 this week concluded three days of security tests and COVID-19 countermeasures as it looks to ensure that the rescheduled Games can go ahead safely amid the ongoing difficulties caused by the pandemic.

The tests were carried out at Tokyo Big Sight, which will house the International Broadcasting Centre and Main Press Centre during the Games.

Image: Tokyo 2020