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Towards the Tokyo Olympics in July, Japan is enhancing security measures in public transportation. The Transportation Ministry is pushing plans to give railway personnel the authority to inspect the belongings of bullet train passengers, a move intended to prevent possible terrorist acts during the games.
Bullet trains are a network of high-speed railway lines in Japan. The law related to railway operations currently has no provisions about inspecting passenger belongings. The revision plan stems in part from an incident in June 2018, when a man on a Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train stabbed three passengers, one fatally.
With the revision of the ministerial order, railway companies will be given the authority to conduct such checks and to remove uncooperative individuals from stations and trains.
Body scanners will be installed at entrance gates, and individuals detected with suspicious objects will be asked to step aside and cooperate with an inspection of their belongings.
Sniffer dogs will be stationed at railway stations to detect explosives.
It would be very difficult for railway companies to enforce the wide-ranging security measures that are seen abroad, given the very tight schedules for bullet trains. Moreover, the huge numbers of passengers who commute on trains in Japan prompted the Ministry to focus on bullet trains and major stations, not the slower train lines that operate in metropolitan areas, sources said, according to asahi.com.