The Sultanate received a set of facial recognition equipment from the Japanese government through the United Nations’ Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) yesterday.
Present to accept the contribution on behalf of the Government of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam was Permanent Secretary (Security, Enforcement and Law) at the PMO Dato Paduka Haji Sufian bin Haji Sabtu from Ambassador-Designate of Japan to Brunei Darussalam Maeda Toru.
According to the permanent secretary, the NeoFace Watch System from NEC Corporation Japan “has been installed at the Brunei International Airport”.
Dato Paduka Haji Sufian also highlighted in his speech the contribution being a reflection of the robust and long-standing ties between the two countries.
“The idea behind the project was initially discussed during a courtesy call from Ambassador Eiji Yamamoto in 2019,” he said. “Since then and in spite of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Japan and the UNODC have made significant effort to turn the idea into reality.”
In his capacity as Director of Internal Security Department, the permanent secretary believes that the cutting-edge equipment will go a long way in helping the department develop the expertise to fully optimise the facial recognition technology and artificial intelligence in addressing new and emerging threats in today’s security landscape, including terrorism.
He added, “We are using a whole-of-government approach to ensure that the other enforcement agencies based at the Brunei International Airport will benefit from the early detection capabilities offered by the NeoFace Watch System.”
Dato Paduka Haji Sufian expressed hope that the project marks the starting point for collaboration in other areas of mutual importance, such as maritime security, in a bid to achieving a safe, secure and prosperous future.
Meanwhile, the envoy said Japan has been promoting counter-terrorism cooperation with Brunei Darussalam and other countries in the region.
“Terrorism cannot be prevented by individual efforts because its activities often go beyond the borders,” he said. “Counter-terrorism requires coordinated efforts of many countries involved.”
Thus, he added, the facial recognition system by NEC is “one of the most sophisticated and trusted systems today” as it “identifies suspicious terrorists, notifies the authorities of their information and helps to prevent the terrorists from crossing the borders”.
Ambassador-Designate Toru expressed hope that the system will upgrade the Sultanate’s border control capabilities and contribute to enhanced security of the country as well as the region.
The handover ceremony also saw pre-recorded messages from Director of the Global Maritime Crime Programme at the UNODC Siri Bjune and General Manager of the Global Relations Division of NEC Corporation Maekawa Kentaro.