Your humble correspondent joins millions of other people in offering condolences and prayers for the victims of the bombings in Brussels. A future posting will discuss in detail what the Brussels bombings mean for the security and safety of the Tokyo Olympics. In the meantime the Brussels bombings bring to mind the following points for foreign safety and security officials to consider at the Tokyo Olympics.
Japan Has a Small Immigrant Muslim Community
There is no large community of Muslims in Japan in which radical Islamic terrorists could easily hide. However, there are thousands if not tens of thousands of Muslim immigrants who live in Japan and a disproportionate number of them live in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
Tokyo Has Many More Soft Targets than Brussels
The Tokyo Olympics will be focused in a relatively small geographic area with 30 million or more residents. Therefore, Tokyo presents a richer and more easily accessible selection of soft targets than does Brussels.
Japan Boasts an Exceptional Human Intelligence Capability
Some news commentary about the Brussels bombings asserts that electronic surveillance of terrorists has become less effective due to encryption, etc. and Belgium lacked adequate human intelligence sources. Japanese law severely limits electronic surveillance and therefore Japanese law enforcement and security agencies have developed extensive and robust human intelligence surveillance resources. This is a plus for Tokyo Olympics Security.
Japan Has Relatively Close Relations with Iran
For decades Japan has maintained diplomatic, economic, and cultural relations with Iran. These bilateral ties might be exploited by Iran to assist terrorist plots during the Tokyo Olympics. This could be a challenge for Tokyo Olympics Security.
Japan Conducts Minimal Intel Sharing with Other Countries
Belgium shares broad and deep cooperative and intelligence sharing relationships with many countries in Europe and beyond. This is done through EU organizations, NATO, and bilateral relationships. Compared to Belgium Japanese law enforcement and intelligence agencies have limited cooperative and intelligence sharing relationships with foreign counterparts. This will affect security for the Tokyo Olympics.