Lost codes spark Haneda scramble

AFP-JIJI

Airport authorities launched a frantic scramble to change security pass codes, an official said Tuesday, a day before U.S. President Barack Obama arrives, after an airline employee dropped a memo containing the details.

The news came as security in Tokyo was dramatically ramped up, with 16,000 police officers deployed in readiness for the first state visit by a U.S. president in nearly two decades.

A Skymark Airlines employee at Haneda airport in Tokyo lost a piece of paper bearing security codes on Sunday afternoon, a transport ministry official said.

The note was found on the floor of the departure lobby around half an hour later, he said.

The ministry instructed the firm that manages the airport to immediately change the pass codes, to avoid any danger of a security breach, the official said.

In the city proper, a heightened police presence has made the sight of officers patrolling streets and stations commonplace.

Local media said a full one-third of Tokyo’s police force had been pressed into service for Obama’s two-night visit, which begins Wednesday.

Some 16,000 officers have been mobilized around the clock in the capital, while coin lockers and trash bins have been sealed in some stations and thousands of security cameras have been put into operation.

Security checkpoints have been set up on major roads.

At Haneda airport, entry onto the observation deck will be prohibited.

Obama is due to arrive at Haneda airport aboard Air Force One on Wednesday evening.

Aside from holding a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama is scheduled to attend a youth event Thursday afternoon at the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, known as Miraikan, and visit Meiji Shrine.

He will leave Tokyo for Seoul on Friday morning.