Thursday, March 21, 2019 | ePaper

Tokyo 2020 preparing for any disaster

  • Print
AFP, Tokyo :
Cyberattacks, terrorism, earthquakes and heatwaves: Tokyo 2020 organisers are hoping for the best but bracing for the worst and making contingency plans for several possible catastrophes during the Games.
Clean, virtually crime-free Tokyo has been spared the terror attacks that have hit many Western cities in recent years, and is considered a relatively safe bet for the Games - it is often ranked as low-risk by insurance and risk-management firms.
But that security goes out of the window when it comes to hosting the Greatest Show on Earth, says Shiro Kawamoto, counter-terrorism expert and professor of risk management at Nihon University.
"Tokyo's safeness in normal times cannot be taken for granted during the Olympics when the world's attention is on it," Kawamoto told AFP.
So Tokyo is pulling out all the technological stops to bolster safety - for example, in an Olympic first, introducing a facial recognition system for volunteers.
Organisers are also bracing for a cyberattack similar to that which blighted the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony, where internet and wifi access were brought down.
"We are preparing on the assumption there will be a cyberattack," said Kenji Endo, a senior government official in charge of Tokyo 2020.
The government has set up an elite unit of police and defence ministry experts to counter a possible cyber threat.
For terrorist attacks, Tokyo has not experienced a large-scale atrocity since the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult released Sarin gas on the subway in 1995, killing 13 people and injuring dozens more.
But an attack on New Year's Eve - where a man deliberately rammed a car up one of Tokyo's best-known streets and injured nine people - jolted Tokyo out of its complacency.
Counter-terrorism drills are being conducted regularly and officials are urging the public to be vigilant.
With petty crime much lower than in other major capitals, people generally pay little attention to abandoned baggage, for example.
"To avoid a suspicious object in a train suddenly exploding, someone has to spot it and call police or station staff," Kawamoto said.
The ever-present threat of natural disasters is also keeping Olympics officials up at night, with Tokyo being one of the world's most seismically active capitals and Japan battered last year by typhoons and heatwaves.
"As for natural disasters, we think the biggest challenge is to prepare for a big quake that is impossible to predict," said Akio Sato, senior official at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.
Rigid building codes mean even strong tremors often do little damage but the government estimates up to 23,000 could die if a magnitude seven quake hit Tokyo directly.

More News For this Category

Tokyo unveils 'cherry blossom' Olympic torch

Tokyo unveils 'cherry blossom' Olympic torch

Organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics on Wednesday unveiled a cherry-blossom shaped torch for the Games as the city prepares for the famed flower season to begin in coming days.The

Women's handball team grabs gold in Special Olympic

Bangladesh women's handball team won gold medal in Special Olympic World Games that concluded on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.Bangladesh women's handball team beat their Netherlands counterpart by

Newly formed Bangladesh Football Clubs Association posing for a photo session at the Hotel Purbani International          in the city on Tuesday.

Newly formed Bangladesh Football Clubs Association posing for a photo session at the Hotel Purbani International in the city on Tuesday.

Andreescu arrives with unlikely Indian Wells triumph

Andreescu arrives with unlikely Indian Wells triumph

Bianca Andreescu's vision became reality in the California desert, where the Canadian 18-year-old's Cinderella run to a first WTA title put her among the elite of women's tennis."Crazy," Andreescu herself

Executive Director of Walton Group FM Iqbal Bin Anwar Dawn speaking at a press conference at the conference room in the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.

Executive Director of Walton Group FM Iqbal Bin Anwar Dawn speaking at a press conference at the conference room in the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium on Tuesday.

'Public uproar' - critics round on Cannavaro over China role

'Public uproar' - critics round on Cannavaro over China role

Fabio Cannavaro's first task as China coach may be to win over a sceptical public after his appointment was met with criticism and even anger.Former players and state media questioned

Japan Olympic chief facing corruption probe to step down

Japan Olympic chief facing corruption probe to step down

The head of Japan's Olympic Committee said Tuesday he would step down in June, as French authorities probe his involvement in payments made before Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Summer

Roma chief Pallotta blasts departed Monchi

Roma chief Pallotta blasts departed Monchi

AFP, Milan :Roma president James Pallotta hit back at former sporting director Monchi on Monday after the Spaniard blamed differences with the American for his departure from the Serie A

'Wary' Deschamps warns France ahead of Moldova trip

'Wary' Deschamps warns France ahead of Moldova trip

Didier Deschamps expects unfancied Moldova to make life difficult for world champions France when they begin Euro 2020 qualifying in Chisinau on Friday.France, who finished second to the Netherlands in

Rory McIlroy's Players Championship win sets him up for Masters tilt

Rory McIlroy's Players Championship win sets him up for Masters tilt

During the summer of his golfing life, in 2014, Rory McIlroy was famously booze-free; the abstinence bringing two majors and a World Golf Championships title as he rose to world