Saturday, February 21, 2015

Police Search for Suspicious Objects Ahead of Tokyo Marathon

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20150219/k10015583221000.html

translated by Brett Larner

As part of the counter-terrorism operations surrounding the Feb. 22 Tokyo Marathon, police officers and local residents patrolled part of the course in Ginza looking for suspicious objects.  Roughly 50 officers from the Tsukiji Police Station and members of the local merchants' association took part in the Ginza patrol, examining the area around the course to make sure there were no suspicious objects.  Afterward they handed out pamphlets to passersby on which was written, "If you see any suspicious people or objects, call the police at #110," asking for citizens' help in ensuring a safe race.

With 36,000 runners Sunday's Tokyo Marathon is the largest marathon in the country.  In response to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, beginning last year police and organizers have increased their counter-terrorism efforts.  This year 4500 police officers will be on duty at the race, with surveillance cameras placed around the course and armed riot police who will run among the Tokyo Marathon runners to patrol them.  Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department security director Hideki Shinohara commented, "The security of the Tokyo Marathon is a crucial step in the preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olymipcs and Paralympics, and we want our security efforts at each of these events to be successful."

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