Launch of a Pilot Test for Facial Recognition Payment on Public Transportation in Toyama Prefecture:
Experience Hands-Free Travel!

Jun. 01, 2023
Marubeni Corporation
Toyama Chihou Tetsudou Inc.

Starting from June 1, 2023, Marubeni Corporation (hereinafter, “Marubeni”) and Toyama Chihou Tetsudou Inc. (hereinafter, “Toyama Chitetsu”) will launch a pilot test for payment using facial recognition, whereby facial recognition technology is linked with a mobile app-based prepaid card, on a section of the Ikuji loop bus route (Kurobe City) operated by Toyama Chitetsu.

Bus and van used in pilot test Bus and van used in pilot test
Facial recognition demonstration on a tablet device Facial recognition demonstration on a tablet device

Marubeni, in response to the recent transition to a contactless, cashless society, is aiming to solve various societal issues by integrating facial recognition technology, which has seen significant improvements in accuracy, with payment functions. In addition, in order to contribute to the enhancement of user convenience, Marubeni is advancing the development of facial recognition payment technology, previously launching a pilot test for facial recognition payment on public transportation in Nagano prefecture on May 10, 2023.

Toyama Chitetsu has collaborated with Marubeni to carry out this pilot test in order to achieve their goal of “improving service levels to promote the use of public transportation”. Through this pilot test, Toyama Chitetsu will compare the practicality of the fare payment system using facial recognition and other payment methods such as IC card payment and contactless payment and identify respective advantages and disadvantages towards future enhancement of user convenience.

Marubeni has previously conducted pilot tests using facial recognition technology for stadium entrance and university attendance and confirmed its high accuracy. In this pilot test, the faces of users who have pre-registered their facial data will be identified in the fixed-fare section of the route, and the payment will be automatically deducted from the individual's app-based prepaid card. Marubeni will then confirm the successful integration and operation of the payment process. 
Based on the results of this pilot test, it is aimed to commercialize facial recognition payment at an early stage not only for public transportation but also in other sectors where there is a high demand for hands-free services.

Furthermore, Marubeni will partner with the three-university collaborative program “ENGINE”*1 (Shinshu, Toyama, and Kanazawa Universities)  to conduct industry-academia initiatives, such as hosting a workshop on the theme of “transportation issues in local regions.” Workshop participants will explore solutions and create new value to these challenges, by leveraging digital technology as well as personal experiences of facial recognition.

*1 ENGINE is a talent creation program led by Shinshu University, which aims to redefine and create innovation in the core industries of local regions.
Website: https://engine-prgm.shinshu-u.ac.jp/

Users will be required to download, install, register, and charge the app-based prepaid card in advance. When boarding the bus, users only need to briefly look at the tablet device installed in the vehicle for facial recognition, eliminating the need to take out a smartphone or cash. This allows fare settlement even if both hands of users are occupied, or if they have forgotten a smartphone or do not have any cash on their person. For more details on the pilot test, please visit our website at https://www.marubeni-network.com/kaoninsho-chitetsu/.

Target Route Ikuji loop bus route
Target Period June 1, 2023 – August 31, 2023
Main Bus Stop Roadside Station KOKO-Kurobe, Kurobe Station, Dentetsu Kurobe Station,
Ikujiguchi, Tanakaya-mae, Ikuji Station

Note: The duration and target routes may change depending on the progress of the trial.
Note: Face recognition payment cannot be used outside the target sections.
Note: For information about the target routes, please visit the Toyama Chihou Railway website at https://www.chitetsu.co.jp/?page_id=12557.

Company Roles:  
Marubeni Project oversight and business feasibility study
Toyama Chihou Tetsudou Inc. Operation of buses equipped with facial recognition payment technology
Marubeni Network Solutions Development of facial recognition payment technology platform
R.D.Works Development of facial recognition technology
Aplus Development of payment function
Company Profiles:  
Company Name Marubeni Corporation
Address 4-2, Ohtemachi 1-chome,Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8088, Japan
Representative Masumi Kakinoki
Established December 1949
Main Businesses Marubeni Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries use their broad business networks, both within Japan and overseas, to conduct importing and exporting (including third country trading), as well as domestic business, encompassing a diverse range of business activities across wide-ranging fields including lifestyle, IT solutions, food, agri business, forest products, chemicals, metals & mineral resources, energy, power, infrastructure project, aerospace & ship, finance, leasing & real estate business, construction, industrial machinery & mobility, next generation business development and next generation corporate development. Additionally, the Marubeni Group offers a variety of services, makes internal and external investments, and is involved in resource development throughout all of the above industries.
Toyama Chitetsu  
Company Name Toyama Chihou Testusdou Inc.
Address 1-1-36 Sakuramachi, Toyama City
Representative Toru Tsujikawa
Established February 1930
Main Businesses 1. Transportation business based on the track method under the Railway Business Act
2. Motor vehicle transportation business under the Road Transport Act
3. Air transportation agency business
4. Management of entertainment facilities and parking lots
5. Purchase, sale, lease of land and buildings, and residential land development business
6. Travel industry
7. Operations related to building environmental sanitation management
Marubeni Network Solutions
Company Name Marubeni Network Solutions Co., Ltd.
Address 2-11-5 Shibaura, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Igarashi Building
Representative Toru Kobayashi
Established September 1999
Main Businesses  1. Network outsourcing business
2. Mobile network business
3. Operation services business
Company Name R.D.Works Co., Ltd.
Address 4-20-3 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Yebisu Garden Place tower 18F
Representative Hideki Saito
Established August 2003
Main Businesses  1. Consultation of strategy, finance, supply chain and technology
2. Providing system integration and an AI platform
3. Domestic sales agent for the facial recognition product, “Saffe”
Company Name Aplus Co., Ltd.
Address 2-4-3 Nihonbashi-Muromachi, Chuo-ku, Tokyo, Nihonbashi Muromachi Nomura Building
Representative Takayuki Shimada
Established April 2009
Main Businesses  1. Shopping credit business
2. Card business
3. Payment business

Related Releases:
May 10, 2023
Launch of a Pilot Test for Facial Recognition Payment on Public Transportation in Nagano Prefecture:
Experience Hands-Free Travel with a Japan-first Technology!