OSAKA – Residents near the venue for the June 28-29 Group of 20 leaders’ summit will face traffic restrictions immediately before and after the meeting, Osaka officials said Wednesday evening, but the exact measures are still being worked out.
About 200 residents of the city’s Suminoe Ward, near the waterfront, gathered to hear the first of four presentations by officials this month on the local impact of the first-ever G20 summit in Japan. The event is expected to bring about 30,000 people to the city, including over 20 world leaders, the heads of various international organizations, and up to 3,000 members of the media.
The venue for the summit, Intex Osaka, is an aging complex by the city’s waterfront district. There are two subway lines that lead from the center of the city to the area, as well as the Hanshin Expressway.
Officials said Wednesday evening there would be traffic restrictions at the time of the summit. But they gave few specific details on how subway service would be affected and which roads near Intex Osaka will be closed when VIP motorcades arrive at and depart from the venue.
Many leaders are due to stay at luxury hotels in the northern part of Osaka, over a dozen kilometers away from the venue.
Specific restrictions, residents were told, will be decided in cooperation with the central government within the next few months.
Officials also announced that the police would conduct an anti-terrorism drill in the area on Feb. 5.
During the question and answer period, concerns were raised about the extent to which local schools and public parks would be shut down before and during the summit. Some parents sought to ensure school and sports schedules in the area were not disrupted around the time of the summit, and suggested the city make alternate arrangements for their children to attend schools or play sports in areas of Osaka that will not be affected by the added security measures.
Afterward, some residents complained they learned little at the meeting. Others said that, despite potential security concerns, they were looking forward to the G20 coming to their neighborhood.
“It will be quite exciting to see people from all over the world in this part of Osaka, but I have to admit that, of all of the world leaders, I’m really hoping to see U.S. President Donald Trump,” said Yusuke Fukumoto, who lives in the Suminoe area.
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