The Yomiuri ShimbunThe transport ministry plans to step up anti-terrorism efforts at airport terminal buildings in response to a series of terrorist attacks on “soft targets” worldwide, such as by introducing a device that automatically detects explosives and installing cutting-edge surveillance cameras, it has been learned.
The government has set a goal of boosting the annual number of foreign tourists to Japan to 40 million by 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Olympics and Paralympics. Although people besides passengers use airport terminal buildings — a soft target where a large number of people gather — the management of the buildings has been handled by companies in the private sector. Advanced measures have yet to be taken to counter the threat of terrorism. The government intends to implement specific measures by 2020.
Explosives detectors developed overseas include an optical sensor-equipped scanner that detects firearms and explosives when people walk through it, and also handheld devices.
The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry plans to look into such devices and how they perform this fiscal year. If certain aspects can be verified, the ministry will begin discussions with companies that manage terminal buildings next fiscal year or later to determine specific matters, such as where the devices are to be installed.
The ministry plans to conduct a test at Haneda Airport as early as this autumn as it moves toward the introduction of surveillance cameras that can detect suspicious individuals in terminal buildings as quickly as possible.
Some cameras are capable of finding people who are acting suspiciously, such as pacing in the same place in a crowd, and identifying baggage left unattended in the same locations for a certain period of time. The planned experiment involves installing various cameras at the airport to examine how they perform.
The specific locations for the future installment of such devices have yet to be determined, but the ministry is expected to prioritize the terminal buildings at airports including Haneda, Naha, Shin-Chitose and Fukuoka, which handle international flights and many foreign tourists.