The East Japan Railway Company (JR East) is to introduce major new security procedures with the installation of 22,000 security cameras at ticket barriers and on station platforms. According to media in the country, the CCTV systems will be able to send live video feeds and pictures direct to police for emergency situations and will be rolled out ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, enabling more rapid response times.
It’s not just the stations that will be better protected, JR East has also committed to bolstering security with security cameras on 8,300 local train cars and 200 bullet-train, or shinkansen, carriages. The on-board camera adopted by Japan’s capital will become the norm in the future, with all new trains fitted out with CCTV as standard.
Despite Japan having one of the lowest murder rates in the developed world, train security became a major issue in Japan in June last year when a man armed with knives boarded a bullet train travelling between Tokyo and Osaka, murdering one person and injuring two more.
Meanwhile, operators at the Tokyo Metro last month announced that it too would be introducing upgraded security, with a trial screening process introduced at Kasumigaseki station – body scanners will at installed at ticket barriers and will be capable of detecting objects underneath clothing, such as concealed weapons. The process, which will potentially include facial scans, will be optional as those not wishing to take part can use an alternative queue. The equipment will not be powerful enough to scan luggage to detect concealed weapons.
Transport Security World reported last year on the news that a similar trial had been introduced by Singapore on its metro network. Like Tokyo’s, Singapore’s trial involved the use of body scanners but did include a luggage scanning system that was capable of detecting hidden weapons. Clearly mindful of the impact that the increased security presence might have on its passengers, the operators of the network planned for a customer feedback programme that would help inform any future security procedures and help minimise inconvenience.
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