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Security tightened in Tokyo for Obama's visit

33 Comments

The Metropolitan Police Department on Thursday set up a task force to oversee security in the capital for U.S. President Barack Obama's scheduled visit on Friday and Saturday.

A total of 16,000 personnel, including some 5,500 members of riot police squads, will be deployed in preparation for possible demonstrations and sabotage by radical groups, as well as for controlling traffic.

"Strengthening security as a matter of course, we will implement full-scale preparations for the president's visit," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirofumi Hirano told reporters.

Obama arrives Friday afternoon on a whirlwind visit before heading to a Singapore summit.

It will be the highest level of security since Japan hosted a summit of the Group of Eight major economies on northern Hokkaido island in July last year, when around 20,000 police were deployed in Tokyo alone.

Police have set up checkpoints near the U.S. embassy to inspect suspicious vehicles, while anti-riot police were patroling near Tokyo's Yokota Air Base, where an explosive device was reportedly found last month.

Police have sealed off manhole covers and put extra officers on duty at subway stations, which were targeted by a doomsday cult using nerve gas in 1995 in an attack that killed 12 people and injured thousands.

Demonstrators plan to stage a rally Friday and march near the U.S. embassy and the prime minister's office against the U.S. military presence on the southern island of Okinawa, a contentious issue between Tokyo and Washington.

Hirano said the government had received no information indicating a security threat but was taking precautionary measures. "We have taken action, but it has not been based on any information about terrorism," he said.

Obama is to hold talks with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama Friday evening and have lunch with the emperor at the Imperial Palace on Saturday before departing for Singapore to attend this year's Asia-Pacific summit.

© Wire reports

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

33 Comments
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Yelnats, just get your surfboard. You know how THAT works. About US bases in Japan? It's obvious you don't have a clue. So stop pretending.

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"Wouldn't want to be an Okinawan in Tokyo in the next few days"!

We are not coming there, to damn cold!

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For knowing that the Japanese taxpayers are keeping the US forces here, I take that you are an intelligent person as opposed to nincompoops in your country who thinks the Japanese people are getting a free lunch in national security.

Wrong. The Japanese pay for the buildings and infrastructure on the bases and Japanese troops sharing the bases. They do not pay for the US military ,civilian personnel and the billions of dollars in hardware. American tax payers do that. I worked on the bases for years.

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On the bright side it should make for a safe weekend for bicycles and reduce the number of bicycle kidnapings here in Tokyo for a couple of days.

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So eigonosensei, where are these Constitutional Republic(s) and how are they doing?

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thepaceisglacia - "What alternative to democracy do you support?"

A Constitutional Republic is better than a democracy.

A democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner. A CR is the same as a democracy but the sheep has RIGHTS and so is protected from the wolves. For example, the 2nd Amendment protects the sheep's rights to have a gun to keep the wolves in line.

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Demonstrators plan to stage a rally Friday and march near the U.S. embassy and the prime minister’s office against the U.S. military presence on the southern island of Okinawa, a contentious issue between Tokyo and Washington.

It sounds terrible to suggest it, but it it possible the J-Police are fearful of some Okinawan groups planning an attack against President Obama? It seems they are leaving no stone unturned with 16,000 cops deployed - Tokyo will be in lockdown, and - dare I say it - people flying in from Okinawa are going to be very closely shadowed by men in suits and dark glasses.

Wouldn't want to be an Okinawan in Tokyo in the next few days!

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Where did all the extra police come from? Are they pulling double shifts?

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"lunch with the emperor at the Imperial palace"

I'll bet it won't be katsudon or kare raisu.

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NationalistRE

...much to the chagrin of most reasonable Japanese.

What do you mean?

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I want my parking space at work back!

You'll get your parking space back soon enough, much to the chagrin of most reasonable Japanese.

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What a pain in the ass this POTUS visit is. All the precautions Japan-wide for us are ridiculous. I want my parking space at work back!

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Mr.Yelnats: Let's not make a racial issue out of such a thing. Cops all over the world are just doing their jobs. A racial and a religious war is a nightmare. We all have to get along in this increasingly, small global community. Last thing we need is an agitator.

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I am glad I do not pay American taxes to support my US bases here. Messed up. Good luck foreigners for the next two days.

For knowing that the Japanese taxpayers are keeping the US forces here, I take that you are an intelligent person as opposed to nincompoops in your country who thinks the Japanese people are getting a free lunch in national security. I feel sorry for you becoming a victim of racial profiling by Japanese police.

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nothing.

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my2sense ...."ain't democracy great?" What alternative to democracy do you support?

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Also in my 16 years in japan I've never been carded, even when my tattoos are showing. Although I did once make a expoliceman angry and was stopped while driving/riding 37 times in 3 months. Hope obama leaves soon so life can go back to it's usual draconian communist style.

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Mr. Obama could walk down Kokusai Dori, the main drag in Naha, Okinawa --- where Yanks are not especially popular these days -- not need a bodyguard. However I was worried for his sake when he went to Texas two days ago.

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I wonder how many ID cards the policemen caught. Just between you and me, ID cards are kind of a suspicious lot. I don't trust them.

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i've never been stopped by cops in japan except when driving and i was speeding. guess i'm scary looking enough that they stay away from me. plus i'm usually in a suit too!

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it should say "Japanese Doomsday Cult" to be accurate.

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Yelnats, It's not the American taxes that pay for the bases here in Japan. It's the taxes that we pay here in Japan that supports the bases in case you did not know.

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I too find the rubber phallus wielding constables offensive. The mere fact that the scrawny flatfoots are smaller than I and wear both (1) a smirk of undeserved authority and (2) an ill-fitting uniform & hat, makes me want to cause trouble to see if they are up to the test... If I was Obama getting off the plane and saw that one of these guys was the only thing that stood between me and total anarchy, I'd be all like, "Oh, come on! You've GOT to be kidding me! Lindsey Graham is more intimidating than these guys!

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wear a tailored expensive suit, comb your hair, shave and use a briefcase. The cop at Minatomidai saluted me when I winked and said "keisatsu?... sagoi dude!" I have not once in 12 years been stopped by a cop.... and I live in 2 cities... rucky dude I guess...

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More keystone J-cops patroling the subways nowhere near the Obama visit demanding ID from "foreign-looking" people.

Yeah! Cops were crawling all over the subways yesterday and today and even at the airport! I lost count of how many I saw! I was at Narita airport to pick up my mother, and was asked for my ID a total of ... uh ... once. That was by the lady at the entrance just past the train gates. In other words, the same as every other day you go out to the airport. And I used my driver's lisence rather than gaijin card.

But wait! Today, with the Emporer's 20th year of ascension celebrations going on near our office, the cops are swarming around here as well as the right wingers! I lost count of how many I saw. On my way to and from lunch, I was asked to show my ID ... uh ... zero times.

I guess not everyone is Debito. Probably for the best.

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The cops will be checking gaijin only because Japanese people are well behaved. I went to the Cherry Festival on US Army Base Camp Zama, and the cops were stopping all foreigners including me that did not show a military ID, but let all Asians walk through that looked Japanese. I even told them that a bunch of Chinese and Koreans just came through and asked them why they did not scrutinize their IDs..... Cops told me they were not foreigners but rather Japanese. I said and pointed at them and said listen to the languages they are speaking, and that got me taken to a tent to have a talk. Pretty messed up. I am glad I do not pay American taxes to support my US bases here. Messed up. Good luck foreigners for the next two days.

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my2sense, he wont stay at a hotel. Most likely at the embassy compound where he will be working through the night or at a military base nearby where Airforce 1 gets refueled. Most U.S presidents nap in the air on such whirlwind trips.

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16,000 officers is excessive.

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you cant get near the US President with a 100ft pole. Secret Service is all over the place too. I remember when Bush was in BKK in 2003 and that was insane security and he took out a whole floor at the Grand Hyatt. Air Force 1 doesnt even exept fuel from most countries. The whole bomb proof caddy and security has gotta cost millions a day. I doubt we so much as shouting megaphones and banned cell phones and this is the part Im really curious about. The kaitei, the Japanese and the Secret Service...and infamous keisatsu. Does anyone know if Barack is staying at a hotel...?

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Sorry for getting into Godwin territory here but considering how a lot of people toot around placards of Obama with Adolfs mustache I don't find it strange they'd ID us. Sad, but not strange.

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yep.. here we go... Aint democracy great...

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Yea! More keystone J-cops patroling the subways nowhere near the Obama visit demanding ID from "foreign-looking" people.

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Is THAT why there's a cop at every station with his hand gripping a drawn People Clubber? I find it vaguely threatening and offensive frankly.

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