Tokyo is beefing up security ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit to Japan, removing trash cans and closing down storage lockers at stations.
More than 10,000 police officers will be on duty in the capital during his visit from Sunday — one of Japan’s largest-ever mobilizations of security personnel.
On Monday, Tokyo Metro Co. removed trash cans at Kasumigaseki Station, a measure to prevent anyone from hiding explosives or other harmful substances. The subway operator plans to do the same at its 171 stations, including major hubs such as Shinjuku and Ikebukuro, until Trump departs on Nov. 7.
Passengers will not be able use storage lockers either, as Tokyo Metro began taking them out of service at major stations from last Thursday. It also plans to increase the number of security guards at major stations, as well as arrange for more announcements urging passengers to notify officials if they spot anything suspicious.
It’s not the first time the company has resorted to such measures, as train companies often tighten security when foreign dignitaries visit — most recently during the Group of Seven summit of industrialized nations held in Mie Prefecture in May 2016, Tokyo Metro spokesman Motoki Yoshida said.
“While we understand these measures may cause inconvenience to passengers, I hope they kindly accept that (increased security) is an all-Japan effort,” he said.
East Japan Railway Co., or JR East, will also restrict the use of coin lockers by passengers at major stations in Tokyo from Saturday until Nov. 7. The company will also seal recycling bins from Thursday.
During Trump’s visit, a force of well over 10,000 police officers will be mobilized for security duties, and an increased number of them will be deployed to guard utilities such as water purifying plants and power plants.
An armed special emergency response team, which has the ability to deal with incidents like terrorist attacks, will also be dispatched near the Diet building in central Tokyo and other places where Trump is slated to visit.
Also, a team consisting of only female officers will be assigned to protect first lady Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and one of his senior advisers. It is the first time an all-female team has been established.
An MPD official declined to reveal further details about operations due to security concerns.
Information from Kyodo added
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