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79% of public worried about terrorism in Japan, poll shows

Kyodo

A government poll shows that 79.2 percent of the public feels anxiety about possible terrorism in Japan, and these fears are being fueled by incidents abroad, particularly those involving Japanese.

The poll on anti-terrorism measures, the first of its kind, was conducted by the Cabinet Office at the request of the National Police Agency ahead of next year’s Group of Seven summit in Mie Prefecture and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The government has been stepping up security measures in the run-up to these international events.

On reasons for being worried, 57.6 percent of the poll’s respondents said terrorist incidents have occurred abroad involving Japanese nationals.

Multiple answers were allowed, and 57.5 percent cited Islamic State militants and other overseas terrorist groups, while 48.0 percent said terrorist incidents have occurred in other developed countries such as the United States and France.

While terrorist incidents have been relatively limited in Japan, the nation was shocked earlier this year when Haruna Yukawa and journalist Kenji Goto were murdered by Islamic State militants.

As effective anti-terror measures, 61.8 percent said Japan should reinforce measures not to allow terrorists to enter the country and 51.5 percent said Japan should strengthen information-gathering on terrorist groups.

Asked about security checks and controls on people going to public events, 93.6 percent said safety should have priority over convenience.

The poll, conducted from June 11 to June 21 on 3,000 randomly selected people aged 20 or older across Japan, had a response rate of 62.4 percent.