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Business trends

Japan in race with China for facial-recognition supremacy

NEC readies unhackable encryption for airports, shops and theme parks

A passenger boards a plane at an airport using NEC's facial recognition technology. (Photo by Tadatsugu Shimazu)

TOKYO/GUANGZHOU -- From shopping to banking to boarding airplanes, an economy based on facial recognition is taking root in Japan, enabling consumers to live a cashless, bag-free life. 

When visitors land at Nanki-Shirahama Airport, in western Wakayama Prefecture, they are greeted not by pandas that the town of Shirahama is famous for, but by a TV screen that displays "Welcome Mr/Ms (visitor's name)."

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