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Friday, June 03, 2011

Police security in Tokyo

青山通り 警備

Police security in Tokyo

The office is in Tokyo’s Kojimachi district, not far from the political heart of Japan, Nagatacho. It is normal to see members of the police stationed on the streets around Nagatacho just watching for any suspicious traffic or pedestrians.

The right wing propaganda trucks, or gaisensha, that blare their music and message onto the hapless world are especially drawn to Nagatacho, and they are no doubt the main object of police vigilance. Perhaps the assassination of the chairman of Japan Socialist Party, Inejiro Asanuma, in 1960 by a right-wing 17-year-old is still very much alive in the political establishment’s memory.

Police security Tokyo

The security, however, becomes positively intrusive whenever foreign VIPs are visiting, particularly those from China or the US. At times like those, it is usual for the streets to be semi-cordoned, with the police manning a mobile steel fence that can be pulled fully across the street to block it to traffic at a moment’s notice.

Tokyo’s Aoyama-dori street, also known as Route 246, starts in Shibuya and runs right through Nagatacho, up to the western edge of the Imperial Palace. Therefore, it is particularly prone to security-related traffic interruptions.

Police security in Tokyo

I was crossing a pedestrian bridge over Aoyama-dori the other day and noticed that the police had completely blocked off the lane of Aoyama-dori that flies over Sotobori-dori street. There was no sign of an accident, so I can only assume that it was the ultimate in security measures being taken that day.

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