‘Biocarts’ slashing entry procedure times at three Japanese airports


Mobile terminals dubbed “biocarts,” which have recently been introduced at three Japanese airports, have successfully reduced the time taken by foreign visitors to complete entry procedures by up to 40 percent, according to the Justice Ministry.

Eighty-one of the terminals, which are equipped with cameras and other equipment to take visitors’ photographs and fingerprints while they wait in line, were introduced on Oct. 1 at Kansai, Naha and Takamatsu airports.

Additional immigration inspection desks and personnel were also stationed at the airports. The terminals were intended to reduce the waiting time at the desks by enabling people to complete photo and fingerprint requirements beforehand.

The time inspection officers take to process foreign visitors at the desks at the three airports was cut by 30 percent to 40 percent as a result, according to ministry figures.

Furthermore, the biocarts reduced the total waiting time for travelers, including time spent in line.

In the first half of October, the average longest time to complete entry procedures at both the north and south inspection areas in Terminal 1 of Kansai Airport was 29 minutes, according to the ministry. During the same period last year, the figure was 52 minutes for the south area and 50 minutes for the north area. In both areas, the time has been cut by more than 40 percent.

The biocarts “are producing the results we were hoping for,” a senior Justice Ministry official said.

As of the end of October, more than 20 million foreign visitors had come to Japan in 2016. With the number of foreign visitors expected to grow ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, efforts to speed up entry procedures at airports and other entry points around Japan has become an important issue.

The ministry plans to introduce biocarts at 12 airports, including Narita, from next fiscal year and beyond.

The ministry is also considering introducing additional steps, including “advance entry inspections” in which foreign visitors could do immigration procedures at their point of departure.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Travel

Casa Palopo: a jewel on Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan
Casa Palopo: a jewel on Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan

Some days at the office, as every member of the work force knows, are better than others. As a travel writer, the world is my office and this was definitely one of the better days. Upon arrival at the airport in Guatemala City, I was whisked off to lunch at the colorful La Esquina, a combination bistro and marketplace in the city’s vibrant Zone...
A perfume devotee in the land of French fragrance
A perfume devotee in the land of French fragrance

Before I became a perfume devotee a dozen years ago, my lexicon for describing scent was limited to words like “woodsy” or “flowery.” Later I found myself craving the dexterity of language that could match the increasingly complex perfumes arriving at my house in tiny decanted samples.  At the time, perfume blogs and a...
We took our 12-week-old to Cuba. Here's why, and how you can travel with a baby, too.
We took our 12-week-old to Cuba. Here's why, and how you can travel with a baby, too.

"We will never travel again!" Those were the first words out of our mouths as my wife and I watched the fourth pregnancy test turn positive. (Yes, it took four tests to believe it.)  Coming as a complete surprise, joyous thoughts of raising a beautiful family together were far from our minds. Instead, we were grieving how our lives would...
In Vegas, some bars work with machine-like precision
In Vegas, some bars work with machine-like precision

LAS VEGAS—They will make your drinks, but they won’t listen to your problems. Robot bartenders have made their way to the Las Vegas Strip — evidence perhaps that Skynet is closer to becoming self-aware and will have a convenient place to take the edge off. Bar owner Rino Armeni swears this isn’t yet another move to replace human...
From canopy walk to gator-filled waters, this Florida park offers wildlife aplenty
From canopy walk to gator-filled waters, this Florida park offers wildlife aplenty

The only thing more worrying than seeing a bunch of alligators around your canoe is not seeing them but knowing darn well they are there.  I am with my two kids, Kai, 8, and Christina, 5, and my sister Gina and her 5-year-old son Quincy, in Florida's Myakka River State Park. It's a moss-and-vine-draped domain of birds, mammals and Jurassic-spiked...
More Stories