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Face recognition system to be tested again at Japanese immigration

The government plans to restart from August a test on a facial recognition system to speed up immigration checks at airports and prepare for an expected surge in visitors for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, officials said Saturday. The Justice Ministry's Immigration Bureau will reintroduce the system on a trial basis for Japanese passengers at Haneda and Narita airports for about five weeks, after a series of errors in the first test in 2012 led the ministry to forgo its plan to adopt the system.

Heavy snow continues to hinder Tokyo traffic, hits northeastern Japan

Heavy snow continued to disrupt transportation systems Sunday in Tokyo and surrounding areas, forcing the cancellation of several Tohoku, Yamagata and Akita Shinkansen bullet train services as well as more than 300 domestic flights mainly to and from Tokyo's Haneda airport. At Narita international airport near Tokyo, around 8,200 people were forced to spend Saturday night in the terminal, as expressway buses and railways connecting it to Tokyo became inoperative, isolating the airport.

Japan to push export of electronic train fare card system to Vietnam

The government has decided to promote the export of Japan's electronic train fare card system to Vietnam as part of efforts to boost infrastructure exports under Japan's growth strategy, sources close to the matter said Saturday. The government plans to begin surveys in Vietnam in January to help facilitate the entry of Japanese companies in the Southeast Asian nation, which has plans to build 14 railway lines in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, the sources said.

Tokyo governor urges allowing airliners to use U.S. Yokota air base

Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose called Sunday for commercial airliners to be allowed to use the runway at the U.S. Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo so Japan can handle the expected surge in international traffic for the 2020 Summer Olympics. "It would be appropriate to open the Yokota Air Base for joint military-civilian use and an international airport," Inose said on a TV news show.

Love and carriage: Japan railway offers train wedding

A rail company is offering one lucky couple the chance to get married aboard one of Tokyo's busiest commuter trains as it encircles the Japanese capital, it said Tuesday. East Japan Railway (JR East) said it wanted to find a couple who would like to tie the knot aboard the usually heaving Yamanote Line, in the company of up to 120 friends and family. "We expect applications from couples who are somewhat attached to the Yamanote line, including those who live nearby," said JR East spokesman Yoichi Suzuki. "But they need not necessarily be rail fans."

China's Spring Airlines preparing to launch domestic flights in Japan

China's budget carrier Spring Airlines Co. is preparing for the launch of domestic flights in Japan, promoting procedures with the transport ministry, the chief of its Japanese unit said Wednesday. "We are at the stage of promoting procedures with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, so we want to announce our business strategy later," Hiroshi Ugai, president of Spring Airlines Japan Co., told a news conference.

Japan's main international airport boosts capacity

Japan's main international airport on Thursday hiked capacity to allow tens of thousands more flights annually as it faces rising competition and criticism over high landing fees. Narita International Airport has opened 10 new spots for parking planes and a new strip to boost access to an existing runway, meaning available flight slots would rise to 270,000 annually, up from 250,000 now, it said. Narita said it wants to boost competitiveness as rival Asian regional hubs, such as Singapore, try to lure away business.
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