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Security increased ahead of Obama's visit to Japan

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The U.S. military and Japanese police are stepping up security measures in advance of next week’s APEC summit, which President Barack Obama is expected to attend.

Obama is scheduled to be in Yokohama on Nov. 13 and 14, according to the White House. The stop in Japan – his second since taking office – will wrap up the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting and conclude his Asia tour that begins Friday.

The Japanese National Police Agency has created a 21,000-man task force to provide security for the summit that begins Sunday, according to an JNPA spokesman. Japanese cops already have begun standing guard outside many of the 85 U.S. military bases on mainland Japan and Okinawa, where force-protection threat levels were raised this week in advance of the event, military officials said.

Parts of the Shuto Expressway in central Tokyo and the Bayshore Route highway between Tokyo and Yokohama will be rerouted or closed at various times throughout the week, a Tokyo Metropolitan Police official said Tuesday.

During his visit to Japan, Obama will address a group of Japanese CEOs, meet with Asian leaders for closed-door APEC talks and visit the giant Buddha statue in Kamakura, a coastal village near Yokohama. Much of the equipment and supplies associated with Air Force One and the presidential entourage is expected to pass through U.S. military installations in the region as Obama travels through India, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan.

The president, who will also attend the upcoming G-20 summit in South Korea, is scheduled to address U.S. troops in Seoul on Thursday to commemorate Veterans Day and the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.

His participation in the G-20 and APEC meetings will reinforce Washington’s role in shaping economic and security policies in Asia and deepen longstanding alliances with South Korea and Japan, White House officials have said.

His preceding stops in India and Indonesia will help solidify new U.S. partnerships with those democracies, Jeff Bader, the administration’s director for Asian Affairs, said Tuesday in an online White House.gov discussion previewing Obama’s trip. The president will continue combating recent misperceptions in Asia that the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the American economic downturn have “distracted” the United States from its role in Asia, Bader said.

reedc@pstripes.osd.mil

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