18,000 police set to patrol during Trump's visit to Japan
By THE JAPAN NEWS/YOMIURI Published: November 2, 2017
TOKYO — In preparation for President Donald Trump's visit to Japan, the Metropolitan Police Department will be on full alert, deploying about 18,000 officers - the highest level in 20 years for the protection of a prominent person.
To guard Ivanka Trump - the president's daughter and adviser, who arrived on Thursday afternoon - female officers from the plainclothes unit of the riot squad were deployed for the first time.
"We want them to protect prominent people and utilize their perspective as women," said Haruyuki Kamatani, head of the the MPD's first security division.
Terror alerts at "soft targets" will also be increased, with the Emergency Response Team (ERT) on standby.
Members of the public will be prohibited from using baggage lockers at train stations, among other security measures.
"A series of terrorist attacks have occurred overseas, and tensions are growing over North Korea. We need the greatest security," said an MPD executive with a serious expression.
The last time about 18,000 officers were deployed in Tokyo alone was when then-President George W. Bush visited Japan in 2002, a year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.
When then-President Barack Obama paid a visit in 2014, about 16,000 officers were deployed.
Combined with 3,000 officers from the Saitama prefectural police, the number this time totals about 21,000.
In addition to the escort for the president, the MPD will create barriers using riot squad buses in areas where Trump will visit, to prevent terrorist attacks that attempt to ram targets with vehicles. Security checkpoints have already been established in Tokyo.
During Trump's stay from Sunday to Tuesday, traffic will be regulated across a wide area, mainly in central Tokyo. In any area where Trump's convoy passes, checks on private vehicles will be carried out before and after. There will also be regulations on some metropolitan expressways, such as the Inner Circular Route.
Security around the U.S. Embassy in Minato Ward, Tokyo, the U.S. military's Yokota Air Base in western Tokyo and other U.S.-related facilities will also be enhanced. ERT equipped with submachine guns will be nearby.
To prevent bombings, trash cans will be removed from the main stations in Tokyo through Tuesday, and baggage lockers will also be out of service. Tokyo Metro Co. made its trash cans unusable on Monday and Tuesday and is removing them.
To thwart attacks on soft targets, uniformed officers will patrol to implement "visible security" at sightseeing locations including Tokyo Skytree and busy downtown areas.
To prevent attacks on infrastructure, patrols will take place at a few hundred water purifying plants and power plants in Tokyo.