Trash Bin Fever

The G7 Summit is currently taking place in Mie Prefecture, Japan, which means President Obama and other world leaders are visiting the Land of the Rising Sun. This is surely a festive moment for Japan, but it also means heightened security measures.

In all my years in Japan I have not seen so many police officers as I have seen this week. Typically in groups of two, these policemen and policewomen stand on street corners and train stations and patrol the trains. Moreover, they are armed with a side gun, another rare sight in Japan. And this is all over the country, not only in the area where the Summit is taking place.

Different countries and organizations have different ways of ramping up security. In US airports, for example, the items which pose the greatest danger are belts, shoes and liquids. You can pass a gun through TSA security – as has been demonstrated several times in recent months – but good luck getting past those obese TSA agents with your belt on or with a small water bottle.

In Japan, the greatest threats are apparently trash bins and baggage lockers. This week everyone in Japan is carrying their trash around all day, because all trash bins have been sealed. They are also lugging their baggage around as all lockers at train stations have also been sealed. Evidently, the only places terrorists can place a bomb are inside a trash bin or a baggage locker. I remember that when President Bush visited here many years ago, the trash bins in train stations were sealed for a very long time.

Oh well. It’ll all be over by tomorrow. And then I can finally get rid of that smelly, black banana skin tucked inside my bag…



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