Tokyo police officers will take part in the city’s marathon this month, the force said Wednesday, as Japan ramps up security after Islamic State militants killed two of its citizens.
With the country still reeling from the beheadings of journalist Kenji Goto and self-styled security contractor Haruna Yukawa, officials have gone into overdrive to show they are protecting the populace.
A total of 64 officers — dubbed the “Running Police” — will jog the entire 26-mile (42-kilometer) course on Feb. 22, a Tokyo police spokesman said. Some 36,000 professional and fun-runners are expected to take part in the race.
“This is part of our effort to tighten security after the (2013) bomb attack on the Boston Marathon as well as the recent attacks in countries such as Australia and France,” he said.
“Good runners will be selected from police ranks so that they can keep up with the pace of participants.
“They will wear a cap and vest showing the logos of the Metropolitan Police Department, so that they will also give participants reassurance and will help prevent crime.”
Tokyo Shimbun reported that the officers will also wear cameras on their heads.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered security be tightened at home and around Japanese overseas after the executions by the Islamic State group, who also released a video Tuesday purporting to show a Jordanian pilot being burned alive.