translated and edited by Brett Larner
Click here for the above article's graphic showing a runner in the Tokyo Marathon being followed by police and surveillance cameras above pictures and a list of banned items and activities including plastic bottles, glass bottles, cans, poison, explosives, scissors, box cutters, tear gas, clothing bearing advertising, clothing that might upset others, and music and dancing on the course.
Over fears generated by the Islamic State kidnapping of Japanese citizens and the rising threat of terrorism worldwide, participants in the Feb. 22 Tokyo Marathon will be subjected to unprecedented security measures. The 36,000 participants will be prohibited from bringing plastic sports drink bottles to the start and will each be screened with metal detectors. Police have more than doubled the number of surveillance cameras monitoring runners and spectators along the course, and 64 riot police will run carrying additional surveillance equipment, pepper-spray and other anti-personnel weaponry. The total police and security presence will number more than 10000, both the public and private security sector working together to prevent terrorism in an important warmup for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Participants will be prohibited from bringing drinks or water in plastic bottles, cans or glass bottles. The number of start area access gates where runners will be scanned and searched has been increased from 2 to 6 with the number of metal detectors likewise increased from 4 to 50. Once baggage has been searched it may absolutely not be taken into the start area. Only unopened commercially-available paper drink packs and jelly drinks may be brought in, with a maximum of 200 ml per beverage and a strict limit of no more than 400 ml per person to prevent poison and explosives from being brought into the start area.
Plastic drink bottles can easily be made into liquid bombs and have been used in terrorist acts in the past. Because proper pre-race hydration is important in the marathon, it is extremely unusual for a race to ban participants from bringing drinks. Organizers will provide runners with drinks in paper cups at water stations after the start, but many of the amateur runners making up the field have expressed unhappiness at the measures, saying, "We can't run properly like this." Tokyo Marathon Foundation Chief Operating Officer Masayuki Tezuka commented, "It might inconvenience the runners but they must understand that it is for security."