Japan is looking to implement a security pre-clearance program at airports to cut down on wait times. The program would allow enrolled foreign travelers to complete the majority of the screening process at their airport of origin, including logging fingerprints and photos. Then, when they arrive in Japan, they’d pass through a special lane and complete a briefer screening before leaving the airport.
Japan is looking to implement the program in South Korea and Taiwan before expanding to other countries. Government officials stated a goal of starting the program in 2017.
The goal would be to reduce congestion at Japanese airports just as the country is experiencing a boom in tourism. Japan saw nearly 20 million foreign travelers in 2015 and is expecting some 40 million by 2020, when Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics. The government’s goal with the program is to slash wait times for foreign travelers to a maximum of 20 minutes, an ambitious proposal considering travelers at Osaka’s Kansai International Airport have seen waits up to 90 minutes.
Japan has taken other steps recently to reduce wait times, including speeding up the process for frequent business travelers by allowing them to use automated immigration gates. Airports have also installed carts to take travelers’ photos while they wait in line.
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