Who operates the “security” around the new National Stadium construction site?
My office is close by and I often take a stroll along the public streets in the area during my lunch break. These constitutionals used to be very pleasant but have been spoiled by the attitude of the staff manning the gates around the stadium.
To a man (and woman) they eye you suspiciously, as if they expect you of some potential wrongdoing, and then pressure you to move away from them and to hurry past despite already walking at a pace. Whenever they talk to you they get very gruff and forceful in expressing your need to move along quickly.
The batons they all carry might officially be used for guiding traffic, but the visual effect is obviously and deliberately the same as that provided by a police truncheon — do not linger or else. Since there are many of them that ring the entire site, any circuit you make leaves you feeling that you are trespassing and have no right to be there, despite being a taxpayer and on public roads.
I don’t understand why they have been instructed to behave in this way. I get that there may be safety concerns, but this is no excuse for their belligerent attitude. However, it seems to go beyond this anyway.
The other day I took a photo on my phone of the latest developments. My 3-year-old son loves cranes and diggers so I thought I’d show him. But as I was taking the photo (from a public pedestrian area) the “security” guard on the other side of the road and in the direction I was facing waved his hands and did the “hand-cross” indicating no photos. I didn’t know that a pile of 300 billion tons of steel and concrete could be such a secret.
On another occasion I dawdled too long in front of an open gate, and upon a quick peek inside was told in no uncertain terms to keep walking, and then again much more loudly and closely. When I asked why, the man got angry and rammed the gate shut with him behind it.
It really is quite bizarre. I’m not saying it’s as bad as walking around a police state or anything, but one would hope this approach to the Olympics might change before the rest of the world turns up. I can no longer enjoy lunchtimes in the area, which is rather annoying since I have every right to be there.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
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