April 4, 2008 / 5:45 AM / 10 years ago

Japan day care scans visitors' palm veins for safety

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - A security-conscious Japanese day care centre has installed a biometric authentication system at its door, scanning the palm veins of visitors to prevent strangers from entering its premises.

“We’re most concerned about intruders entering the place and hurting or taking away the kids,” said Toshifumi Morio, an employee at Happiness Social Welfare Corporation in Osaka, which runs the Happiness Kamiishi Day Care Centre in western Japan.

“And we thought, if we are tightening the security, why not tighten it to the max?”

Happiness Day Care, which was already armed with security cameras and electric locks, installed the palm vein scanner last October, Morio said.

Its iron door will open only after the system is able to match the punched-in pin code and palm vein data with pre-registered information of parents and caretakers, he added.

Many Japanese schools stepped up security after a man stabbed eight children to death in a killing spree at a school six years ago and a schoolgirl stabbed a classmate in 2004.

Fujitsu Ltd, a Japanese electronics conglomerate which provided the 2 million yen ($19,520) product to Happiness nursery school, said the palm vein scanning sensor is commonly used for computer log-ins and cash machines, but this is the first time it is used for security purposes at day care centers or schools.

No matter how high-tech security can get, Morio says nothing beats the human eye.

“The best is for our staff to be standing there, but that’s hard since children come and leave the place at different times,” Morio said.

“As of now, this is really the only way we could think of to increase safety,” he said, adding that parents have been happy with the new security measure.

Editing by Sophie Hardach

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