Narita Airport Security

July 6th, 2010By Category: Uncategorized

Narita Airport, by way of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, has introduced full body scanners for a limited trial period. This is the next step in Japanese port security being considered after fingerprint scanning entered service a few years ago. That has proved both effective, and non-effective as cases of convicted criminals successfully being barred sit alongside a story that appeared in Japan Today of a Chinese woman who had an operation to change her fingerprints in order re-enter Japan after previously overstaying her visa.

Touted as an effective tool to prevent terrorist attacks, the body scanners being tested can see through clothing to reveal things hidden underneath. Objects being especially targeted include liquids and chemicals that otherwise escape metal detectors. Passengers will be asked for their feedback during the trial period. They work like this; a passenger arrives at Narita, stands on a designated point and the machine will scan their body, which is then displayed on a monitor. Any hidden objects will then show up. During the scanning a detailed outline of the body is displayed, but faces are airbrushed off to protect privacy, while the operators checking the images in a separate room are the same sex as the passengers who are scanned.

Images are all deleted after use. So far the trial is optional, but like the fingerprint scanning, if it proves to be popular with the airport security service and passengers remain relatively neutral you can expect it to enter full-service.  Do you think full-body airport scanners are needed? Thoughts welcome below…

Author of this article


GaijinPot is an online community for foreigners living in Japan, providing information on everything you need to know about enjoying life here, from finding a job and accommodation to having fun.

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  • scanprif

    new body scanning technology is a frontal assault on personal privacy,
    with virtual strip searches revealing private body parts and intimate
    medical details.
    It can see whether or not a person is circumsized – no problem.
    This degree of examination amounts to a significant – and for some
    people humiliating – attack on… the essential dignity of passengers that
    citizens in a free nation should not have to tolerate.
    Passengers expect privacy underneath their clothing and should not be
    required to display highly personal details of their bodies in order to
    Please join us on facebook:
    All Facebook Against Airport Full Body Scanners
    13,500 members and growing

  • John

    This is absolutely disgusting.. Sickening. If and when they ever make it mandatory, that's when I'll be done with Japan.

  • Tofuboy

    Overstaying your visa. Not that is serious crime. How about jay walking? That's serious too. I saw a cop giving a ticket to a teenager yesterday for smoking. Come on Japan. This country is really ridiculous with it's hyper-rules and paranoia about outsiders. Xenophobia! Basically this country suffers from Facist Policies and Government, Apathetic citizens who rarely fight against anything, and it's reflexive racism. (it thinks it's culture is so superior to everyone else). Why waste your time with these people or living here?

  • Effik

    their brand of institutional racism is alot than the states or say Australia!!! Japanese “racism” is a joke.. and they generally tend to see themselves as inferior to white(?) countries so yeah they really have gotten some things wrong.

  • anon

    I think this is a great idea.
    I don`t understand why, exactly, some people are afraid of this. How is it worse than going to the public bath if the person looking at your *blured-face* scan is the same sex as you? And how is it an assault on your privacy if they don`t even see your face unless you`re hiding something?

  • John

    @anon : you're comparing apples to oranges. Going to a public bath, voluntarily, filled with regular people (not government agents) is a voluntary act. You don't have to go if you don't want to show yourself naked.
    Travelling by airplane for many people is the only practical way to get from point A to point B. So, when a government IMPOSES to virtually strip search you, THAT'S where most people have an issue with it. It's not the technology by itself that is bad – it's how it's used, and abused. If they give people an option then that'll show some respect towards people. Me personally, I would rather be manually touched and frisked to make sure I don't have anything I can't have at a security checkpoint, rather than having a virtual naked image of me being displayed to some government agent.

    And please, stop with the “Unless you're hiding something” – that argument is an old, losing argument. Wanting privacy does not equate to having something to hide. I have nothing to hide, yet I want my privacy anyway. Get it? It's not rocket science

  • Guest

    then why do you live here???????

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  • teekay

    It's not just the privacy issue, there is evidence from various universities and research bodies that the level or radiation is many times higher than previously thought. The European Commission said in a report that “a rigorous scientific assessment” of potential health risks is needed before machines are deployed there. Security officials in Dubai said they wouldn't use the machines because they violate personal privacy and information about their side effects on health isn't known.

  • I will recommend not to hold back until you earn big sum of money to order goods! You should take the credit loans or car loan and feel yourself comfortable

  • justthem

    Or maybe Japan should be like the U.S.; just let every loser in. Then Japan can go down the toilet just like America. Japan has every right to say who enters and who doesn’t. That’s what has kept that country as great as it is.

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    The European Commission said in a document that “a rigorous scientific assessment” of potential health risks is necessary before machines are deployed there. Security officials in Dubai said they would not use the machines because they violate personal privacy and information about their side effects on health is not known.



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