Japan Data

Japan Bolsters Olympic and Paralympic Security amid Heightened Terrorism Concerns

Society Tokyo 2020

Police will begin hold test events starting in January as part of tighter security measures aimed at preventing terrorist attacks at the Olympics and Paralympics.

Japanese authorities are bolstering security ahead of Tokyo hosting the Olympics and Paralympics. Tens of thousands of people are expected to visit Japan during the games, and the government is taking steps to prevent terrorist attacks such as has occurred at past large-scale international sporting events.

Major Terrorist Incidents at Large-Scale Sporting Events

September 1972 West Germany Terrorists storm the Munich Olympic Village, taking Israeli athletes hostage; the attack results in 12 deaths, including 11 athletes
July 1996 United States Bomb explodes at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, killing 2 and injuring 112
April 2013 United States Bomb explodes at the Boston Marathon, killing 3 and injuring close to 300
November 2015 France Suicide bomb attacks in Paris near Stade de France during a soccer match between France and Germany kills 1 person and injures many others

Compiled by Nippon.com based on the Public Security Intelligence Agency’s “Review and Prospects of Internal and External Situations 2020.”

A terrorist attack has yet to occur at a major sporting event in Japan, but experts at the country’s Public Security Intelligence Agency warn that the Olympics and Paralympics could be the target of militant groups looking to gain worldwide attention by carrying out an assault. The games’ sprawling scale and massive crowds provide terrorists ample targets. The agency says that special security will be exercised not only at venues, but also along the transportation grid, at hotels and other accommodations, and at soft-targets like sightseeing spots. It also calls on residents and visitors in large cities outside of Tokyo to be on the lookout for possible threats. 

The games also face a growing threat from cyberattacks. The security agency specifically points to examples of so-called hacktivist groups like Anonymous that carry out online attacks motivated by social and political ideas. The group has previously targeted organizations that support the hunting of whales and dolphins, and the agency warns that similar hacking efforts could be directed at the Tokyo Olympics in the wake of Japan’s resumption of commercial whaling.

Olympic Cyberattacks

2012 London Olympics Electric-supply system targeted, but event operation was not negatively affected
2014 Sochi Winter Olympics Olympic-related websites  shut down temporarily
2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics Data stolen from Olympic-related organizations
2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Computer system crash prevents tickets from being printed

Compiled by Nippon.com based on the Public Security Intelligence Agency’s “Review and Prospects of Internal and External Situations 2020.”

Tokyo Olympic Relay to Begin in March

The Tokyo Olympics will be held over a 17-day period starting on July 24, but the Olympic Torch Relay will kick off on March 26 in Fukushima Prefecture. The start site will be part of around 20 test events that include track and field, swimming, and soccer authorities will hold at venues beginning in January. A total of over 10 million tourists and athletes are expected to visit Tokyo to watch or take part in the games. The Paralympics will be held from late August to early September.

Main Events of Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics

March 26 Olympic Torch Relay begins in Fukushima Prefecture
July 24 Opening ceremony for the Tokyo Olympics; 33 Olympic events to be held over 17 days, with 11,090 athletes competing
August 9 Closing ceremony of the Olympics
August 13 Paralympic Torch Relay begins
August 25 Opening ceremony of the Paralympics; 22 events to be held over 13 days, with 4,400 athletes competing
September 6 Closing ceremony of the Paralympics

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo: The new National Stadium in Tokyo, the main venue for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. © Nippon.com.)

Tokyo Olympics Paralympics