High-tech security deployed for Tokyo Marathon


New security methods, including the use of facial recognition and drones, were employed at this year’s Tokyo Marathon on Sunday.

Officials decided to start beefing up security in 2014 in response to the Boston Marathon bombing the year before that killed three people and injured around 150 others.

This year, security was increased even further through public-private cooperation, in light of the terror attacks in Paris last November that claimed the lives of about 130 people.

Major security firm Secom Co. offered its face authentication system for Sunday’s event.

The system takes photos of competitors’ faces and their numbers at the entrance gate, and checks them against photos registered in advance. It was used on about 900 runners, or 2.5 percent of the competitors.

A Secom airship also flew above the finish line where it took aerial photos that it provided to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Another company provided video taken by drone to the MPD.

For its part, the Tokyo police had several interceptor drones on stand by designed to capture any suspicious drones that entered the area.

It was the first time the Tokyo Marathon had been aerially monitored for security purposes.

The Tokyo police also employed officers to run alongside the competitors and an emergency response team armed with submachine guns in case of an attack.

The team, launched in April last year, comprises members from the MPD’s riot squad.