Jogging cops help keep Tokyo Marathon safe

JIJI

The Tokyo Marathon came off without a major hitch Sunday amid tight security that included police officers running among the participants.

More than 10,000 people from the public and private sectors were on full alert for the annual event in the wake of recent terror attacks, including the Islamic State militant group’s murder of two Japanese and the attack in Paris on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Each of the running police officers wore a small head-mounted camera and carried a special baton and pepper spray. A total of 64 officers took turns in relays.

The police deployed some 4,500 officers and increased the number of portable metal detectors used alongside the course. Some 1,100 private-sector security cameras were also utilized.

The Tokyo Marathon Foundation, which stages the event, increased the number of guards to 6,000 and that of metal detectors at the start and other locations to 60. Surveillance cameras were doubled from last year to 21.

Guarding against a chemical attack, the foundation banned runners from carrying plastic bottles.

While security was extremely tight, the police also made efforts to pump up the event in a warm manner. At an intersection in Ginza, an officer on a riot police vehicle cheered runners on and told the audience: “Runners hope for your warm applause.”