AUSTRALIA will extend electronic check-in at immigration centres by 1 year, a senior official said Friday, as Japan prepares to open its first-ever electronic visa-check-in system.
The move, expected to be announced as soon as Thursday, comes as Japan is expected to sign up to an agreement with the U.S. to extend a similar system to other Asian nations.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing for a more streamlined and streamlined immigration system.
“The extension is a good step towards implementing electronic visa checks for visitors from other countries,” said a government official.
“I am sure the new electronic system will have benefits for tourists and citizens alike.”
The Japan Immigration and Border Protection Agency (JIBPA) will begin to operate the electronic system later this year, but is already offering the system to a limited number of tourists and business people.
The U.K. also has a similar electronic visa system, but it does not extend the time for visa check-ins beyond the first month.
It is not clear if Japan plans to extend the process beyond the 1-month limit.
“We want to make sure that the system works for everyone,” JIBPA Chief Executive Officer Katsuhiro Otsuka told reporters in Tokyo.
Japan’s electronic system is expected not only to be quicker and more secure, but also to attract more foreign visitors.
But Japan has faced stiff criticism from U.N. officials over the length of time that its electronic visa process is taking, and over how it is handled.
A report in Japan’s leading newspaper Shukan Shinbun on Wednesday revealed that the government had spent more than $1 billion to date to hire a team of more than 30 immigration officials and police officers to manage the system.
A U. N. report on Friday said the system was already struggling to keep up with the growing number of people trying to enter the country through its borders.