In 1982, the National Police Agency of Japan (NPA) developed and implemented the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS), which computerized the process of fingerprint extraction and matching from the NPA's database. It was the first AFIS system in the world which realized automated latent fingerprint matching.
In 1997, the NPA advanced AFIS by introducing online terminals. This made it possible to perform inquiries from many remote sites such as prefecture police headquarters (PPH) and police stations (PS). NPA Japan’s criminal AFIS system was palm-print based and considered as one of the most advanced system by the time.
As of 2003, NPA commenced nationwide replacements of its 1,300 palm-print live scanners for all police HQ’s and stations. This 35 million USD tender for live scanning systems was for the production and installation of palm print scanners with mounting kiosks with a delivery schedule spread over a 5 years period.
The tender's purpose was basically to replace worn off equipment purchased during a previous generation (1997-2003) and the NPA’s selection for the live scanning system tender was granted to the existing vendor as well as to the secondary suppliers with competitive technology and cost efficiency.
The major selection criterion for the NPA tender was to satisfy strict technological requirements with a competitive price. Uniadex, one of Japan’s leading system integrators, joined forces with Suprema in the NPA’s live scanning system tender.
Suprema was renowned for its biometric technology with an award-winning algorithm in the commercial sector and was also highly capable in AFIS and live scanning system. The company had successfully delivered over 1,200 units of 10-print and single-print live scanning units to the Korean Police.
NPA’s key requirements were MTBF rating, image quality standards and uncompromised performance under extreme conditions. Suprema live scanners satisfied NPA’s 7-year MTBF criteria with its highly durable structure and excellent manufacturing quality. Extensive sets of tests were taken by the Tokai University on RealScan-P scanners for shock & vibration resistance, operating temperature & humidity. As for image quality standards, the NPA required 508dpi resolution with high level standards exceeding FBI’s IQS appendix F. RealScan-P met all image quality requirements.