Country report Japan

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New Technologies Working Group (NTWG) 

February 19-21, 2013

JAPAN

Operations

Last year, about 3.92 million ordinary Japanese e-Passports were issued. This is a 0.9 % decrease compared with that in 2011. On the other hand, the number of Japanese nationals travelled abroad in 2012 was 18.43million, which is an 8.5 % increase from the previous year level.

Japan issues both 10-year e-Passports and 5-year e-Passports. Among passports issued last year, 60% of them are 10-year ones and 40% are 5-year ones.

A little more than 30 million Japanese valid passports are in circulation as of the end of 2012, and about 90 percent of them were e-Passport.

New Technologies

Japan has been continuously preparing for issuing new version of e-Passports, and will start issuing them from this autumn. Basically the design of the booklet will not be changed, although several security features will be replaced or improved. The new e-Passports will also be supported by Active Authentication.

Security Issues / Developments

The number of lost or stolen Japanese passports in 2012 amounts to approximately 42,000, and it is reported that about 80% of them were occuered in Japan.

Among fraudulent cases detected in Japan, illicit acquisitions of e-Passports by imposters were the most in number. In order to prevent from the illicit acquisition all, 700 passport offices in Japan the hold special campaign for strengthening their screening twice a year. The number of detected cases decreased; from 86 in 2010, to 43 in 2011, to 26 last year.

After the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011, Japan enacted a special law to enable those who lost their passports by the disaster including tsunami. It enables the victims to obtain alternative special passports free of charge if they apply for the new passports by submitting disaster-victim certificates.

This legislation is aimed to encourage the victims who had the passports to submit lost or stolen reports to invalidate their passports as soon as possible if they had lost them. More than 1800 alternative special passports have been issued until the end of December 2012. Recently the number of application is very small, and we will close this project at the end of this March, as the law is temporary legislation.

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