OSAKA - As world leaders descend upon Osaka for the two-day Group of 20 summit, human security personnel won’t be the only ones on patrol to sniff out potential threats.
Specially trained bomb-sniffing police dogs introduced last year by the Osaka Prefectural Police are patrolling venues where the G20 summit will be held starting Friday.
“The presence of police dogs acts as a deterrence to terrorism, which I hope leads to peace of mind for residents,” an officer in charge of the operation said.
Through long hours working together the handlers establish an unbreakable bond with their canine partners.
“I spend more time with the dog than my family,” a handler said, demonstrating the depth of their connection.
Unlike dogs in the criminal identification unit, which use their noses to track suspects, these canines specialize in detecting explosives. They are also trained to help in subduing suspects and supporting rescue operations in disaster-hit areas.
Formerly, local police commissioned private organizations to provide them with dogs and handlers, but the potential dangers they face led police to take on the training and development of their dog teams in-house.
Training commenced in July last year, with a specialized police dog facility completed in January.
In a dry-run for the G20 summit, the dogs supported security measures during April’s cherry blossom season at the Japan Mint in Osaka, where crowds gather each year to enjoy the flowers.
“The dogs have been raised tough, and we’ve grown to trust them,” an officer running the operation said.
The G20 summit will mark the first time Japan has hosted the annual gathering of several world leaders and central bank governors.