(Yomiuri: November 17, 2015 – p. 2)
In view of the recent simultaneous terrorist attacks in the French capital, the government plans to beef up equipment for the police Special Assault Team (SAT) and the firearms control unit. With the G7 summit (Ise-Shima Summit) in Mie Prefecture next May in mind, the government will also enhance intelligence gathering on international terrorism and “border control” to prevent terrorists from entering the country.
Review of equipment for the special unit
In a press conference on November 16, Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga said: “It is necessary to beef up equipment as well as enhance intelligence gathering and analysis,” emphasizing his intention to give greater weight to domestic counterterrorism.
In its budgetary request for the FY 2016, the National Police Agency (NPA) included 15.6 billion yen for the improvement of bulletproof vests for SAT. A government official said, “Unless the vest is stronger than terrorists’ firearms, it will be useless.” The government will review and study equipment by analyzing the weapons used by the group of assailants in the Paris terrorist attacks.
As part of enhancing intelligence gathering, the government will also deliberate on moving up the schedule for the establishment of the “International Terrorism Intelligence-Gathering Unit” under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), which was originally scheduled for next spring. The administration decided in May this year to form the new unit following the murder of Japanese hostages by the Islamic militant group “Islamic State.”
The Prime Minister’s Official Residence will directly control the new unit. About 20 personnel selected from MOFA and the Cabinet Information Research Office will concurrently hold positions in the new unit. In addition, regional experts will be assigned to overseas missions in the Middle East and Africa.
“It is critical to gather Intelligence beforehand,” said National Safety Commission Chairperson Kono. “We will prevent terrorists and weapons from entering the country,” expressing his view to focus on border control.
By utilizing information on international terrorism gathered from various countries, the government plans to enhance border controls for preempting incidents of violence.