Last month's terror attacks in Paris and the closely timed suicide bombings in Beirut have raised fears in Japan of a similar attack to unprecedented levels. With Japan hosting next year's Group of Seven leaders' summit in Mie Prefecture, and a host of smaller ministerial conferences elsewhere around the country, the government announced earlier this month it was stepping up counterterrorism measures.

Despite the effort, how effective these measures will actually be and what impact they will have on legitimate public protest at the two-day summit, remains unclear.

On Dec. 8, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government launched a counterterrorism intelligence unit within the Foreign Ministry. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the mission of the new entity, Counterterrorism Unit-Japan, is to gather information on terrorist threats. More generally, he added, the government also plans to beef up security at airports, ports, and other key facilities and step up counterterrorism training.