The thousands of athletes, officials and sports fans who journeyed to Tokyo in 1964 could not possibly have envisaged what the world would be like in 2020. Actually, even those of us at the start of 2015 might have difficulty imagining some of the things being planned for the Olympic Games five years hence, especially as applies to security.
The Sankei Shimbun (Dec 31) reported that members of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and private consultants are already brainstorming on what will be needed to boost the capital's anti-terrorist measures.
A Tokyo-based representative of NASC International, who is a sales agent and consultant for security, is quoted as warning that "There are sufficient concerns that such an attack might be carried out."
"Radioactive waste can be mixed with explosives to produce a 'dirty bomb,'" he says, adding that in addition to such devices, another concern would be the spread of wild rumors that might set off a panic.
In other countries, great progress is being made in developing security devices that anticipate such an event. NASC, for example, offers an advanced system for detection of potential threats that "fits in the palm of the hand" and can detect radioactive materials within a radius of 20 meters. If a team of security staff equipped with such a device is linked to a network, they can quickly screen a considerably large area.
The company has an array of such products on display in its showroom in the Marunouchi business district. These compact security devices with increasingly advanced functions can be expected to find wide use at Olympic venues and security checkpoints.
"What's important in terms of strategy for security at the 2020 games will be the way aspects of hardware and software are fused," an unnamed staff member of the Tokyo MPD is quoted as saying.
As a part of the preparations, police are also planning to operate jointly with civilian organizations to conduct anti-terror drills.
"If we rely overly on aspects of manpower, the whole system might be overwhelmed," the MPD source says, adding, "It will be necessary for us to disregard the methods that were in place at the previous Tokyo games. For instance, back in 1964, countermeasures against pickpockets were a major factor, but currently terrorism is the main concern."
Another measure will be more efficient utilization of security cameras. At present these are already used extensively in Tokyo's entertainment and residential areas. At the 2012 games in London, for example, so-called "camera linking" to track targets while in motion was seen as an effective deterrent.
Not only will devices be used to detect radioactive materials, but conventional explosives as well. The MPD can be expected to mobilize more than 50,000 police and other security staff for the 2020 events. Portable communications and other devices can be expected to give them advanced security capabilities.
"While awareness toward terrorism continues to grow in Japan, the amount of personnel and budget devoted to prevention is still rather low when compared to other countries," says Isao Itabashi, a member of the Council for Public Policy. "For 'peace of mind and safety' at the Olympics, I suppose urgent consideration is going to be given to what can be done to reinforce security efforts, including adoption of the latest technologies."© Japan Today