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Tokyo Olympics will use facial recognition to improve security

Just for athletes and staff, not sports fans.

A facial recognition system, provided by NEC Corp., will be used at Tokyo 2020.
The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games

Tokyo 2020 will break a tech record by becoming the the first Olympics to use facial recognition technology.

The technology will be used to identify athletes, officials, staff and media at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, the organizing committee said on Tuesday. It won't be used to identify spectators attending the Games.

Using the technology is meant to improve security and speed entrance for authorized persons, the committee said in a blog post. The facial recognition system is being developed by NEC Corp., a Japanese IT giant. The company will collect images of authorized persons beforehand and store them in a database for cross checking at entry points.

"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," Tsuyoshi Iwashita, executive director of security for the Tokyo 2020 Games, wrote in the blog post. "I hope this will ensure a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games and help athletes perform at their best."

Olympic games often embrace new technology. During the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, Hyundai's fuel-cell-powered Nexo SUVs were used to shuttle Olympic visitors around Guangneung and PyeongChang. Skiers also used automatically inflated airbags to protect themselves from a crash.

NEC Corp. didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. 

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