Japan to use AI at customs to stop drug smuggling

Japan Times -- Jan 21
Japan's Finance Ministry is promoting a program to introduce artificial intelligence and other cutting-edge technology to help customs agents crack down on increased smuggling of illegal drugs.

The program aims to establish the world’s most advanced inspection capabilities according to a plan announced by the ministry in June last year.

As part of the program, AI-based analysis will be used to sort through huge amounts of data on past cases of unlawful import activity, looking for patterns of false descriptions on such matters as price, quantity and weight of goods on import declarations. The information will help pin down importers who should be watched more closely.

To prevent the importing of illegal drugs, the ministry has already started testing a prototype nuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR) device that uses AI to check X-rayed items and identify possible drug smuggling.

The NQR device sends a pulse via radio waves and can detect drugs hidden in body cavities.

At present, drugs hidden in such a manner can only be confirmed using X-ray machines at hospitals. No country has yet adopted the technique to find illegal drugs.

- Japan Times