Tokyo (AFP) – Japanese police in riot gear practised for a chemical weapons attack Monday in an anti-terror drill aimed at tightening security for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Anti-terrorist forces rushed to a Tokyo rugby venue in a scenario where terrorists had planted a bomb in a nearby building and released the lethal nerve gas sarin inside the stadium.
Local media said about 1,000 people, including bomb disposal experts, took part in the drill, which was also designed to protect venues for the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
A bag supposedly containing an explosive device was removed with a robotic arm, while special forces trained to deal with biological and chemical agents disposed of the sarin gas before decontaminating the endangered area.
Japan is rapidly developing advanced crime-prevention systems to guard against attacks at the Tokyo Olympics, such as hi-tech gates that can detect tiny explosive particles in a matter of seconds.
The Japanese government and Olympic organisers have also promised to cooperate with overseas law enforcement to tighten borders before the 2020 Games.
Local police are strengthening security at soft targets such as including sports venues, schools and shopping malls to ensure the Tokyo Olympics and the Rugby World Cup a year earlier are hosted safely.
Brazilian police arrested 10 people before last year’s Rio Olympics on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack.
Japan prides itself on being one of the world’s safest countries but its confidence was badly shaken in 1995 when a doomsday cult released sarin on packed rush-hour subway trains, killing 13 people and injuring thousands.