The Fire and Disaster Management Agency plans to deploy toxic gas detectors in major cities as part of counterterrorism measures for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and 2020 Tokyo Olympics, officials said.
The devices can track gas movements in real time from as far as 5 km away.
Using infrared cameras, it can identify some 50 types of chemical compounds in toxic gases, including sarin and chlorine, without collecting gas samples.
The agency is considering deploying the detectors initially in major cities in the Tokyo metropolitan area by the end of March 2019 and then in cities that host sports events, the sources said.
The detectors will be used if evacuation orders are issued for attacks at rail stations, airports and other public places. Since they can identify poison gases, they are also expected to help medical institutions treat people in the event of attacks or chemical accidents.
The agency plans to deploy them to other major cities across Japan after the big sporting events end, the sources said.
Preventing terrorism is one of the most important items on the agenda for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Police, together with agency officials, have conducted counterterrorism drills in recent years that include scenarios based on the release of sarin.