Safeguarding the 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo city

Generally speaking, Japan is perceived as a safe and upstanding destination – ranked as ‘low risk’ by insurance and risk management firms – but with the upcoming 2020 Olympic Games being hosted in Tokyo, officials are preparing for a myriad of potential risks, including cyberattacks and earthquakes.

“Tokyo’s safeness in normal times cannot be taken for granted during the Olympics, when the world’s attention is on it,” Shiro Kawamoto, a counterterrorism expert and Professor of Risk Management at Nihon University, told The Japan Times.

Following the cyberattack that shut down internet access during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea, government officials have been ramping up contingencies to mitigate probable risks, and these include technology such as facial recognition systems and counterterrorism drills (which are being conducted regularly).

Furthermore, due to Japan being in the middle of the Ring of Fire, officials are preparing for the possibility of an earthquake, as Senior Official Akio Sato explained: “As for natural disasters, we think the biggest challenge is to prepare for a big quake that is impossible to predict.” As far as typhoons are concerned, Tokyo Metro is currently ensuring watertight doors at around 400 entrances to the subway system to reduce chaos caused by potential flooding.

“To help deal with any emergencies, we are preparing evacuation plans for each venue, and are considering the offer of multilingual support to facilitate prompt and smooth evacuations,” Tokyo 2020 official Kaho Akiyama told The Japan Times.