Japan, S. Korea tighten safety, security steps
March 22, 2003
TOKYO — Tighter security at U.S.-related facilities was among domestic security measures Japan and South Korea enacted Thursday, after the U.S.-led attack on Iraq began.
“The Japanese government is trying to secure more strict management of people’s movement into the country and to guard important facilities such as those related to the U.S. troops,” said Counselor Misako Kaji, deputy press secretary to Japan’s prime minister, “but also facilities for nuclear power plants or some public institutes.”
The Japanese National Police Agency set up an emergency anti-terrorism headquarters Thursday and ordered Japanese police to tighten security on U.S. related facilities and other essential facilities, an NPA official said.
With each prefectural police office, the security measures office will decide on steps to be taken, and will communicate and coordinate with police headquarters.
“The office ordered its police headquarters to tighten security on U.S. and its supporter countries’ related facilities, our country’s essential facilities, nuclear related facilities, public transportation facilities and places in which many people gather,” according to an NPA statement. Approximately 650 facilities now will be protected, up from 330.
Tokyo Metropolitan Police announced Wednesday some 5,000 mobile police will add to security at U.S. facilities, such as Yokota Air Base and the U.S. Embassy, as well as the prime minister’s residence and Tokyo International Airport.
Police announced they also would strengthen bomb squads and chemical security units.
Japanese immigration facilities also will tighten security to prevent terrorist infiltration, the Japanese NPA stated, and information collection and exchange with other nations’ security offices will be increased and strengthened.
Japan Self-Defense Forces, according to the Japan Defense Agency, also may provide additional security.
The use of JSDF personnel for U.S. base security would be a first. The Japanese government revised its self-defense law to allow JSDF personnel to provide security to U.S. bases in Japan after the terrorist attacks in the United States in September 2001.
In South Korea, the National Police warned local police to be on the alert for potential terrorist activities.
The KNP said it’s increasing its staff and patrols at U.S. bases and foreign embassies. The agency said explosive ordnance detection teams will inspect unidentified “vulnerable” areas regularly.
— Choe Song-won contributed to this report.