Facial Recognition Will Be Used to Identify Athletes in 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Recently, Japanese sources confirmed that facial recognition technology will be used on anyone participating in the 2020 Olympics.
Donovan Alexander

It is not the Olympics unless there is a little controversy, and this year is not any different. Around the holidays a report from the Japanese Times reported that facial recognition technology would be used to identify athletes, official, and the journalists entering the games. 

NEC Facial Recognition 

Luckily if you are one of the hundreds of spectators, you will not have to be subjected to facial treatment. However, anyone participating in the Olympics in any other capacity will not be as lucky. 300,000 to 400,000 people could be using the facial recognition system on top of the usual security cards handed out to those participating.

Facial Recognition Will Be Used to Identify Athletes in 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Source: NEC

To tackle this significant task, NEC will be handling the technology used for the program. It is probably very appealing for the Olympic committee to use the NEC facial recognition. The security system was tested with moderate success in the past Brazilian Summer Olympics. Even more so, according to the NEC, their facial recognition technology can be implemented "as a functionally independent application, or seamlessly integrated into new or existing biometric security solutions by system integrators and solution providers." 

Facial Recognition Will Be Used to Identify Athletes in 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Source: NEC

The NEC technology uses various technical tools to identify people. It uses three methods in it facial recognition process, the Generalized Matching Face Detection Method (GMFD), the Perturbation Space Method (PSM) and the Adaptive Regional Blend Matching method. Each method either identifies various areas of the candidate's face and rematches them, or identifies a person's face print and matches it with a face entered in the database. The facial recognition algorithms cannot be fooled with the usage of caps, hats or sunglasses.   

Olympic Implementation 

As the 2020 games approach, the Olympic committee hopes to work through any logistical issues the program may create for athletes, as there were a lot of complaints at the Brazilian Olympics.   

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The NEC Group works to provide solutions for a society that promotes the safety, security, efficiency, and equality of society. According to their website they "aim to help solve a wide range of challenging issues and to create new social value for the changing world of tomorrow."


Brought to the forefront of culture this year with the launch of the iPhone X, facial recognition technology has a significant place in society and security. The technology is already being used by the robot police in China, in tunnels in NYC and by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Do you think this new security method will serve the 2020 Olympics well or is it another hassle for the athletes competing? 

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