Thursday, February 5, 2015

64 Riot Police to Run Tokyo Marathon With Surveillance Cameras and Pepper Spray in Counterterrorism Operation

http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASH244TH3H24UTIL01S.html

translated by Brett Larner

On Feb. 4 it was announced that 64 Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department officers will run in the Feb. 22 Tokyo Marathon, carrying cameras that will transmit pictures and video back to police headquarters in real time as part of a counterterrorism operation.  It is the first time such an operation will be carried out within Japan.  An official commented, "This is part of our security enhancement program in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics."

According to the police department, the officers will run in eight pairs, covering roughly 10 km before the next set of officers takes over.  The core of the group of officers is made up of male and female riot police in their 20s through 40s, four of whom ran in the Hakone Ekiden and Izumo Ekiden as university students.  The officers will carry batons, pepper spray and sound equipment in anticipation of any unforeseen circumstances.

In response to the 2013 Boston Marathon the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department increased the number of officers on security detail at the Tokyo Marathon to 4500 last year.  This year it plans to field roughly the same number.

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