Tokyo Olympics to prioritise anti-terror measures

  • 17/11/2015
Tokyo's National Olympic Stadium (Getty file)
Tokyo's National Olympic Stadium (Getty file)

Japan's Olympics Minister Toshiaki Endo has promised to make public safety the top priority of the 2020 Tokyo Games following the Paris terror attacks.

"Once again it shows how difficult security is," Endo told reporters, referring to the coordinated attacks in the French capital on Friday that killed at least 129 people. "Until now, Japan has been viewed as a country with relatively few security fears.

"However, these kinds of terrorist threats are spreading to countries throughout the world," Endo said.

"Cyber security and anti-terror measures will become the top priority in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics."

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga reiterated the determination of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to tighten security ahead of the Olympics, the 2019 Rugby World Cup and next year's G7 summit in the western city of Shima.

"Following the recent incidents, the prime minister has directed with all the more urgency the need for anti-terror measures," he told a media briefing.

"The government is gathering information about relevant terror threats and taking all the necessary steps to increase protection of the country's borders.

"The security measures of course will include the French embassy, important facilities and installations and places of public gathering," added Suga.

"Japan will host the Olympics; next year we host the summit. We need to do everything in our power to ensure the best possible counter-measures to terror.

"With big sports events such as rugby and the Olympics back-to-back, these terrorist incidents will serve as an extra incentive to strengthen our defences."

Organised acts of terrorism carried out against civilians are rare in Japan.

But the Japanese doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo perpetrated the most shocking domestic attack in 1995 when its members let off nerve gas in the Tokyo subway, killing 13 people and sickening thousands more commuters.

Japan co-hosted the 2002 World Cup with South Korea less than a year after the terrorist attacks on New York which left nearly 3000 dead, imposing no-fly zones over stadiums as part of beefed-up security for the tournament.

Border authorities also worked closely with Interpol and their counterparts overseas to prevent known hooligans from entering the country.