Police set up elite antiterrorism unit

The Metropolitan Police Department said Wednesday it has set up a unit to investigate terrorism involving nuclear, biological and chemical substances, and held a drill simulating a gas attack in Tokyo.

The unit, which consists of more than a dozen police officers who are experts in science and technology, was set up in the antiriot force of the MPD’s public security department. The force deals with guerrilla incidents, the MPD said.

The unit was given 100 million yen in equipment, including special vehicles that can protect riders from chemicals, bacteria and radiation, as well as protective suits and high-tech chemical analysts.

The drill took place at the riot facility in Tokyo’s Meguro Ward, simulating an attack using sarin gas in a movie theater.

During the 30-minute operation, squad members wearing protective suits collected and analyzed the gas.

The public security department said it hopes to increase the number of squad members and amount of equipment in order to have the unit also deal with nuclear accidents, like one that occurred in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Sept. 30 last year.

One worker has died from radiation and at least 439 people, including 207 local residents, were exposed to various doses of radiation, mostly minor, in the accident.