Firms providing the latest in biometric security, using systems that can identify an individual's face, hand or fingerprint, are enjoying a boom in Japan amid an increase in forgery and cybercrime.

The technology includes ways to combat credit card fraud and Internet offences such as identity theft by avoiding the need for PIN numbers, as well as doors that dispense with conventional locks and instead rely on face recognition.

Some analysts say technology vendors including Fujitsu-Frontech Ltd. have great potential in the biometrics security market which, although expected to grow sharply, is still in its infancy.

"It's certainly a growing market. The growth potential for the technology providers, especially specialized ones, is huge if their products are used by big clients," said Jun Morita, a fund manager at Chibagin Asset Management.

Private firm Yano Research Institute says Japan's biometrics market hit 8.76 billion yen in 2004, soaring 39 percent in two years.

It is expected to grow to 27.22 billion yen in 2010, as the technology is adopted for mobile phones, personal data assistants (PDAs) and ATMs.

Interest in biometrics technology for access control or personal identification is growing around the world, with the global biometrics market expected to top $4.6 billion in 2008 from $719 million in 2003, according to the International Biometric Group, an industry body.

In the United States and Europe, companies such as Alcatel, Nuance Communications and SAFLINK Corp. have been developing non-password biometrics security using fingerprints, face recognition or recognition of veins in the palm or fingers.

In Japan, demand for the technology has been spurred by the introduction in April of the Personal Information Protection Law, which calls for companies and organizations to establish and manage company-wide information security.

Japan's second-biggest bank, Mitsubishi Tokyo Financial Group, is receiving over 2,000 applications a day for a credit card launched last year that identifies users by the veins in their palm. It has installed an authentication system, developed by Fujitsu-Frontech, in half of its 3,000 ATMs... (Continued Here)

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