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NARITA, Chiba Pref. (Kyodo) The Tokyo customs office will soon deploy dogs at Narita airport trained to detect guns and other firearms, sources close to the plan said Saturday.

The two Labrador retrievers, a male and female, have undergone a ¥15 million intensive training program at a special learning center in Australia, the sources said. They will be the first of their kind deployed at a Japanese airport.

The dogs were trained not only to detect firearms, but also to recognize the specific scents of gunpowder and the oil used to maintain them.

The plan is part of a program the government anticrime council compiled last year as the government attempts to crack down on firearms smuggling.

There was only one gun confiscated at an airport in Japan last year, but it wasn’t found at Narita International Airport. As a matter of fact, 2008 is the first year no guns were found at the airport since it opened in 1978.

The program calls for Narita and other major airports to employ gun detecting dogs in five years.

There are only eight gun-sniffing dogs in Japan at the moment, but all of them belong to the police.

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