National Police Agency chief Setsuo Tanaka called for maximum security precautions before the Group of Eight summit in Okinawa late next month, telling police officials to guard against possible disruptive measures by nongovernmental organizations.

“It will be the first summit held outside of Tokyo. We must resolve many issues that we have little experience in dealing with,” Tanaka told a meeting of NPA bureau chiefs and Okinawa, Fukuoka and Miyazaki prefectural police security officials.

Tanaka said there is a possibility that NGOs may stage huge demonstrations similar to those by tens of thousands of protesters during the World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in November and December in Seattle.

“You should remember that a slight mistake may lead to the failure of overall security operations,” he said.

The NPA will deploy 20,000 police officers to the prefecture to help provide security for the summit.

The G8 summit in Okinawa will be held from July 21 to 23. A G8 foreign ministers’ meeting will be held in Miyazaki on July 12 and 13, and a finance ministers’ meeting of the G7 (the G8 minus Russia) will take place July 8 in Fukuoka.

The G8 comprises Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States.

G8 spared U.S. drills

The U.S. forces stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa Prefecture will refrain from conducting flight drills during the three-day Group of Eight summit to be held in the prefecture in July, it was learned Wednesday.

According to Japanese officials, Tokyo had been requesting that such training be postponed during the summit.

Kadena is located about 20 km north of Naha airport, and is positioned between the prefectural capital and Nago, the city where the summit is to be held.

Because some 20 or so aircraft carrying summit participants will be landing and taking off from Naha airport, Japan had called on the U.S. to refrain from carrying out drills to ensure safety, officials said.

However, activists against the U.S. military presence in Okinawa criticized the move, charging that it was an attempt to cover up the realities surrounding the existence of the bases.