This week’s featured article


The Metropolitan Police Department is planning security on an unprecedented scale for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games, with the help of police officers from across Japan.

At the same time, the Tokyo police aim to make better use of female officers and private-sector technologies to take a light-touch approach to security that does not spoil the festive atmosphere of the quadrennial sports event.

“We will prepare to be on the highest possible alert, working in collaboration with overseas intelligence agencies,” a senior MPD official said. “But we don’t want to provide the kind of heavy-handed security by gun-carrying personnel that was seen at the 2012 London Olympics and 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.”

As part of its action plan for the 2020 Games, the MPD will aim to promote “light-touch” security through the intensive use of female riot forces. Specifically, it is considering an 80-strong all-women riot squad, according to department officials, that could be used for tasks such as crowd control around games venues.

At the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, the MDP deployed female offices to the athletes’ village. Currently, women account for some 8.2 percent of all police officers at the MPD. The department initially aimed to raise this to 10 percent by fiscal 2020, but has since decided to bring forward the target by two years.

As a centerpiece of security preparations utilizing private-sector technologies, the MDP is looking at deploying an unmanned airship equipped with sophisticated surveillance capabilities. Able to remain at a fixed point for a long time, the airship is expected to be used to take photos of areas around event venues for police stationed at ground level.

The Tokyo police are considering using of private-sector face-recognition technology for identifying suspicious individuals based on information on terrorists on international wanted lists, from data registered with the surveillance camera system.

“We hope to provide effective and elegant security by using sophisticated technologies,” a senior official of the MPD said. “By mixing hard-line and moderate methods, we also hope to honor the atmosphere of omotenashi hospitality unique to Japan.”

First published in The Japan Times on Aug. 28.

Warm up

One-minute chat about security in Tokyo.


Collect words related to police, e.g., security, crime, police box.

New words

1) unprecedented: never before known or experienced; e.g., “The number of police was unprecedented.”

2) spoil: ruin the joy or quality of; e.g., “Rain spoiled the picnic.”

3) quadrennial: every four years; e.g., “It’s a quadrennial event.”

Guess the headline

P_ _ _ _ _ plan light-touch, high-tech approach to Tokyo 2020 s_ _ _ _ _ _ _


1) What is the “light-touch” approach?

2) What is the current percentage of female police officers?

3) What kind of technology will be introduced for the Olympics?

Let’s discuss the article

1) Do you think Japan is safe?

2) What difference do you think it will make if security is “light-touch and high-tech”?

3) What do you think is important for security at the Tokyo Games?



特に、様々な技術が発達し人の移動も盛んになった今日、リスクは大きく そして見つかりにくくなっていることでしょう。

そのような中で”安全な都市、東京”としてオリンピック・パラピンピックを迎えるに当たっては並大抵の準備では済みません。しかし、いかにも臨戦態勢と言った警備を張っているようでは祝祭の雰囲気が損なわれるどころか、普段そのような環境になれていない日本人の一般生活にすら恐怖感を与えて しまうでしょう。

主張はしないものの実はしっかり見張っているという警備はどことなく日本人の立ち振る舞いにも通じる気がします。日本らしい安全確保の方策に期待 したいものです。


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