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Random patdowns begin at 30 int'l airports in Japan

68 Comments

Random patdowns began at 30 international airports across Japan this week.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the random body searches are being conducted to check for chemical and plastic explosive materials that are not picked up by metal detectors, TBS reported.

Haneda Airport has already trialed body scanners that allowed inspectors to see through passengers' clothes, but because of the cost of the devices and concern over privacy issues, the ministry said scanners would not be used at airports nationwide.

On Monday, TV media showed passengers being subjected to patdowns after they had passed through metal detectors. Some older passengers said they were a little uncomfortable at being touched, but there were no objections, ministry officials were quoted as saying.

A Haneda Airport security official said the patdowns may make the pre-departure process slightly lengthier for some travelers. "However, the new system is ultimately for the safety of all passengers, so we are asking for the public's understanding and patience," he said.

In Japan, outgoing passengers are usually only subjected to patdowns if the metal detector goes off.

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68 Comments
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I wonder how random these random patdowns will be. I have found myself getting extra patdowns and checking about 70% of the time I fly. It is a little excessive....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

See through clothes invasion of privacy? Huh? Its like a mega xray machine no? its not like one can see the skin etc.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The question is: Will the be "random" patdowns, or random "patdowns"?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

this has got to be the biggest joke in world. there are almost zero cases of bomb scares or terrorist activiites emanating from Japan. so what's the point of patting down grandma yoshiko? i hope there is a backlash to this nonsense.

3 ( +5 / -3 )

Article to the right notes,

Girl pats customer on the back (3 min) – 1,000 yen

So you could get essentially the same service free of charge just by flying somewhere? Sounds like a deal to me!

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Airport security is a joke in Japan. They can`t even conduct a real "security check" in Narita. They have 10 guard men standing around ask for ID,pretend to look at it and let you through. A real waste of money.

-1 ( +3 / -3 )

We can joke about this random patdown, searches, but if we do not have these random searches, and say a TERRORIST or just a looney tooney crazy Tanaka or Nakamura get on the plane ready to not only kill themselves but others??? The same people here crying that these random patdowns proves Japan is racist, etc..will not want to die together with a suicide bomber on a 747 jumbo jet over the Pacific Ocean, right??

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I hope the young ladies doing the patdowns realise I get highly excited at airports!!

Seriously though, what a farce as is usual with everything japan seems to do .

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I would rather security was tight n time consuming than lax and dangerous. If I had my own way the staff would be searching everyone including the flight crew and folks children. In fact I'm all for implementing a total ban on clothing on all flights to and from any international hub.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

this has got to be the biggest joke in world. there are almost zero cases of bomb scares or terrorist activities emanating from Japan. so what's the point of patting down grandma yoshiko? i hope there is a backlash to this nonsense.

Hey, I'd rather have random patdowns than someone getting on a plane and blowing it up or whatever.

Maybe they should make a special airline for all the impatient people and those who see no need for tight security? They could call it Risktakers Air, and anyone can fly on it carrying whatever they want.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Copying the harassment of the TSA is a step toward the authoritarian / totalitarian police state. Acquiesce, defer, and submit.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

They could call it Risktakers Air, and anyone can fly on it carrying whatever they want.

But, can I get an exit aisle seat at the same cost?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Airport security is a joke in Japan. They can`t even conduct a real "security check" in Narita. They have 10 guard men >standing around ask for ID,pretend to look at it and let you through. A real waste of money.

You are speaking about the security check (I'd check) right after you get off the train or to actually enter Narita Airport. This has been inplace since Narita Airport was opened because of the fierce opposition to the airport by locals.

Security to get onboard the actual airplane (x-rays, metal detectors etc) is done by the airlines, contracted out to security contractors.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are 30 international airports in Japan??

6 ( +7 / -1 )

So the "no touch" machines didn't work hey?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Even pre-9/11, Japanese airport personnel got 140 hours of training, against 20 hours for American screeners. They tend to look for suspicious individuals instead of suspecting everyone. The airport is staffed with police and kidoutai, in case you hadn't noticed, as airports in Europe often are, not hired inexperienced security props.

How much training do you think the pizza-box recruited TSA gets, when they don't even know how much 3 oz. is in milliliters (had THAT argument before....), decide on their own whether breast milk or medications or foods can pass through or not (despite nationwide rules governing it that all TSA employees should be aware of)? They openly laugh and make sexist remarks when a well-endowed young woman gets sent through the scanners ("We've got a good one here!"), they loudly talk about their private lives while supposedly scanning people, the TSA stands for 'thousands standing around', people. Do any of you really think they are doing a better job?

Lets see if the searches are more common sense than stripping 97-year-old women to their diapers, making people take off artificial limbs, and cutting casts off people.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Readers, please stay on topic. The subject is Japanese airports, not the TSA.

@probie

i would agree if this were the middle east or the US , but you're talking about int'l airports in japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Giving security officers license for more pat downs? Expect more cute girls to be "randomly" selected - voyeur pics on the web soon!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Giving security officers license for more pat downs? Expect more cute girls to be "randomly" selected - voyeur pics on the web soon!

The rules are situated where females can only be patted down by female guards. If you look at the videos of the news, it's no way like the TSA's "intrusive" screening techniques.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Pure theater. Knowing this - why wouldn't a person with ill intent put the materials inside their body, in a bra or right on their privates? Prisoners in jails have an awful lot of contraban - surely a fanatical terrorist can endure some discomfort. This is a waste of time & money. Solid intelligence before anyone gets near the airport is meaningful security. How, why & where will these people obtain the explosive materials that necessitate this security theater? That should be the focus. Not timid women with a 1 hour training course and white gloves apologizing with an awkward smile for realizing "it" is hanging to the left today.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

All in all, I don't care. They are just doing their job and it doesn't hurt... I hope.

0 ( +2 / -3 )

@probie - actually there have been successful Japanese terrorists; Red Brigade in the past (responsible for hijackings and other heinous acts) & Aum Shinrikyo more recently; not all terrorists are Muslim. I was in Rome in '87 when a Japanese Red Brigade fired an RPG at the US Embassy & while simultaneously a car bomb killed 2 Italian bystanders outside.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

random? yeah right !!

Considering that Japanese folks have been patted down and some don't see to like it at all, seems to say that it's not just ALL foreigners.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@ultradork

@probie - actually there have been successful Japanese terrorists; Red Brigade in the past (responsible for hijackings and other heinous acts) & Aum Shinrikyo more recently; not all terrorists are Muslim. I was in Rome in '87 when a Japanese Red Brigade fired an RPG at the US Embassy & while simultaneously a car bomb killed 2 Italian bystanders outside.

I don't know why you addressed that to me. I'm all for patdowns.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Pure theater. Knowing this - why wouldn't a person with ill intent put the materials inside their body, in a bra or right on >their privates? Prisoners in jails have an awful lot of contraban

Maybe prisoners in the USA, but in a Japanese prison?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

ultradork

actually there have been successful Japanese terrorists; Red Brigade in the past

The Red Brigade was Italian, I think you mean the Red Army or Nihon Sekigun, from the 1970's.

4 ( +7 / -4 )

Random?! I wonder how many Japanese people will get this treatment?! Exactly.

1 ( +3 / -3 )

see through clothes is an invasion of privacy but a little touchy feelie is ok??????????

0 ( +2 / -2 )

So what's the point of the cuddle cafes if the service is public and free ?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Please do not post inflammatory remarks like this. The patdowns are random, applying to Japanese and non-Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Traveller beware; the invasive and dangerous scanners, and patdowns though touted "for your safety " will not only not increase safety, but will rob you in other ways.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

this has got to be the biggest joke...almost zero cases of bomb scares or terrorist activities emanating from Japan.

No, quite a few, actually: AUM Shinrikyo, Red Army Faction, etc., and of course the nut case who tried to fly an airliner under the Rainbow Bridge after commandeering the cockpit.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Funny how people that do not understand the level of danger there is on this PLANET, and sorry, JAPAN is part of this planet, and just because an airport is in JAPAN does not mean that a TERRORIST can not fly from Saudi Arabia, etc..into Japan, lay low for a couple of weeks, pick a flight like they did in the USA on 9/11 and all them fools who were worrying about being SLOWED DOWN by TSA etc..will be blown to hell out of the air of TOKYO BAY, because they wanted to not have their stuff screened?? Did not want to go threw the new fancy X ray machines etc..Terrorists love fools like the ones that care more about not being patted down,etc..so they can shave their beards and pretend they are just like me and you, until they start slicing your throat over the airspace of Osaka, Tokyo etc..yelling Allah Akubar?? Enjoy your flight, do not worry about security, everyone is just as nice as you are?? NOT!!

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

So the terrorists aren't going to bother with domestic flights?

How can they justify these types of invasive procedures on international flights yet leave domestic flights wide open?

I think it's because they actually know that the threat is miniscule but they're only implementing this because another country told them to.

1 ( +2 / -2 )

hey i am not against scanning or patdowns - i am against the LOGIC of the decision.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In some clubs here and back home the staff at the entrance pad you down. I don't really see the problem of this being done at airports to ensure security, given all the things that have happened since 9/11.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

How can they justify....leaving domestic flights wide open? -- I think it's because they actually know that the threat is miniscule

In that case, they don't "actually" know anything. All of Japan's terrorist attacks have been committed by Japanese people, not by foreigners, and all of the incidents since the 1990s have been domestic in nature.

ANA flight 61, which was hijacked in 1999, for example, was a domestic flight.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I wonder if most of these extra pa-downs take ;place with passengers on China-bound flights? Japan knows it must have a few home-grown nutters willing to attack Chinese citizens, because of the territorial dispute. It wouldn't do for problems to escalate with a terrorist attack by a Japanese person.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Himajin:

" Even pre-9/11, Japanese airport personnel got 140 hours of training, against 20 hours for American screeners. They tend to look for suspicious individuals instead of suspecting everyone. "

And who, pray tell, is suspicious here? How many suicide have originated from Japan? Wait... zero?

What a farce. If they looked at young, muslim males, travelling alone or in a small group, with 1-way tickets paid in cash and little baggage, they would have caught 100% of the suicide martyrs so far. But originating from Japan would truly be a nove concet. Where is their support network here? Not existing of course. .

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Why now? No good reason for the timing , except Maria's about preventing local nutters doing something shameful in China or Korea.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

First thing i thought of was a Shimura Ken skit I saw on youtube once.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I remember when Yokohama hosted the APEC summit and the cops were doing "random" pat downs in Minatomirai (downtown near the venue). What they meant by random was that if you had any hint of brown or dark skin you were stopped about 10 times on your way to the office whilst Japanese salarymen passed you by free of harassment from the cops.

To be fair though, if you were a Japanese female, between 15 and 30 and wearing a short skirt the j-cops would search your purse too while they pretended to be Jack Bower.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Funny how people that do not understand the level of danger

Precisely you. You seem to believe that type of demonstrative measures has any effect. If I was a terrorist carrying a bomb, with the pat down they'll just explode together with me and all people around in the airport hall. In what is that safer ?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Do it for everyone or do it for no one. I have ZERO issues with it if everyone is getting patted down - the Philippians and whatnot pat everyone - guys for guy, women for women. I have an issue with perhaps being the subject of a pat down because some j folk wants to cop a feel or they think I look like a drug mule - which I must since I get my bag ripped open every time I fly alone. ZERO with the husband. Too much freedom left to the staff to decide who gets checked and who doesn't.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

They say the "random" patdown is to catch explosives that the machines miss. This means that they admit that their machines are at least partially ineffective and won't always detect explosives. Given this, if they then only patdown a "random" selection of passengers it also means they accept that they are letting some explosives through the check.

Either the machines work and no-one needs a patdown, or they don't work and everyone needs a patdown.

They should also explain why domestic flights are exempt: don't they care if terrorists blow those up?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Let's be done with it once and for all. All passengers fly totally naked and submit to an anal search before flying. And still some on here will as usual be all for it!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If they try the patdowns on some of the Obachans I know, there are going to be some seriously evil eyes dealt out.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This really isn't that big of a deal. They pat you down, and you got on your merry way. I've had random pats and checks at numerous airports around the world. So long as you're civil, the people patting down will be civil as well, and then it will be done and you will look the better for it.

1 ( +3 / -3 )

“However, the new system is ultimately for the safety of all passengers, so we are asking for the public’s understanding and patience,”

The "safety" ruse to train the people to be more deferential and submissive to uniformed thugs. What a crock. This is just a step toward the authoritarian / totalitarian police state.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Disgusting.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Before 9/11 the FBI, CIA THWARTED plans by AL QAEDA to fly USA bound planes from the Philippines and crash them into major landmarks in the USA, like Manila to SFO into the Golden Gate Bridge, Manila to LAX into the Hollywood sign, Manila to NYC and that would be the Empire State building etc..These attacks were THWARTED, but if we think blood thirsting terrorists are happy with what they got away back on 9/11/2001 and that they will never do it again?? Keep on getting high on your own supply! Terrorists, not just Muslims ones, but all terrorists are just waiting for US to leave our guards down, all it takes is one idiot fool terrorists to slip through the cracks in security and you will be royally screwed, an it wont matter if you were a gaijin feeling the victim of Japanese police, security etc..it will not matter what race, sex etc...you WERE, because your body parts will become fish bait over the Pacific Ocean, or where ever the heck the plane blows up, just ask the people of Lockerbie, Scotland after they Libyans exploded that Pan Am jumbo jet, it could happen over the smallest towns here in Japan too, so if you do get stopped, random checked, THANK THEM, they are protecting YOU and your family from others, deep bow, and ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU to all of the police and security who are protecting us here in Japan and the entire world.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Racial profiling is not a big surprise as it is done as SOP in countless places around the world. But, that really is a sideshow to how any traveller's dignity and privacy are violated by such profane search procedures as fondling random travellers' genitalia as well as these porno scanners. Not only are the scanners ludicrously expensive, but they are dangerous. Google the risks that have already been exposed. Metal detectors are reasonable enough, but this is going three steps too far. " Some older passengers said they were a little uncomfortable at being touched, but there were no objections, ministry officials were quoted as saying." Hmm, only a little uncomfortable at being touched in the most private areas by a stranger? No objections, my foot. Disgusting.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All terrorists in Japan have been home grown.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

If I can select the bimbo who has the good fortune to pat me down & checks my scrotum for a bomb ;-) , then I am all for this new pre-flight entertainment service, my goodness, I may even start choosing the airport based upon quality of babes and pat down service.... hey I may even pay to have a better babe pat me down .. now there's a income revenue generation scheme.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

And who, pray tell, is suspicious here?

People from all countries pass through here. AUM wasn't dangerous? Thinking that there are no dangerous people in Japan is in itself dangerous...

tmarie-'do it to everyone or no one' ...sorry, but 'everyone' isn't a threat. Israel and other countries profile based on questioning travelers based on attitude, body language, and other factors. Airports are staffed with actual police, not hired security. Grandma doesn't have to be searched to make planes safe.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So, let's get this straight, a terrorist is at the Departures section with a bomb in his backpack. He can either go left into the international terminal and face security scrutiny or he can go right into the Domestic gate and take out a brand-new fully laden 787 Dreamliner on a domestic flight

Or of course option C, he can easily jump on the Shinkansen during Golden week without any security check at all and do just as much if not more damage.

Who's kidding who here.

And how exactly does the randomization process work? It doesn't seem to be stated in the article, is it via computer or via the staff's "random" discretion, which means that dark-skinned people and hot babes get a pat-down.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

If they looked at young, muslim males, travelling alone or in a small group, with 1-way tickets paid in cash and little baggage, they would have caught 100% of the suicide martyrs so far.

How can you tell what religion somebody is by looking at them, or reading their name on a passenger list?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

"random body searches are being conducted to check for chemical and plastic explosives materials that are not picked up by metal detectors"

RANDOM checks? Like, what, about one person in 500 gets a pat-down? So a terrorist wearing chemical/plastic explosives has only a 1 in 500 chance of being caught? Heck, they should be patting down EVERYONE who gets on a plane, no?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

anal probes for all is the only way

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@papigiulio, that's where you're wrong. The new x-rays that are considered an invasion of privacy actually do see your skin. What's more, they can see your genitals in 3D. The science behind it is, particles are blasted at your body and bounce off of your skin back to the machine to give a 3d projection of what your whole body looks like without clothes. I've had to go through these in america; trust me they see everything. What's worse than the invasion of privacy though is the health concerns. This type of radiation is much more dangerous than standard airplane or background radiation, as it has a chance of penetrating your system.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is well known that racial profiling is a side-effect of random patdowns.

I agree with Serrano's comment. When you step back and look at some number scenarios, the whole process becomes an obsurd exercise, if patdowns are not implimented on everyone.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well the good thing is at least Japanese women that often travel by commuter train are already used to the "pat downs".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is a joke. If a hijacker wants to take over a plane there are plenty of legal things they can buy at an airport. Terrorism is about control. In that respect they have won, we have less freedom now than before 2001. Everything from random searches to governments having the right to read peole's e-mails.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Has anyone ever driven into Narita airport? The security at Disneyland is probably better. They don't even look underneath the car where most likely the explosives would be hidden.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Jlh02, if you think security at Narita is bad,heck go to ANY American airport, what security! Anybody at anytime can drive right into all major airports in the USA, so at least Narita is compared to Tokyo Disneyland, but American airport security??? Still lagging way behind the Japan, Israel, etc...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Smith, if it isn't a big deal, they could pat down everyone - safety and all. Thing is, they won't. Who do you thin is going to get stopped and patted? The foreigners. Even though the only terrorist acts on Japanese soil have been by.... Japanese.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Personally, I'll accept the risk of death by terrorism (about 1 in a million), in exchange for freedom of movement, freedom from government harassment and freedom from being groped like a prisoner entering jail.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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