Japanese Railway Security

Essay by tjryuUniversity, Bachelor'sA, June 2006

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World Transit Security

The Federal Transit Administration's Office of Safety and Security, the Office of the Secretary, Office of Intelligence and Security, and the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, identified that in general, transit system personnel worldwide lack extensive training and experience in handling terrorist attacks (Prieto). According to the Congressional Research Service, one-third of terrorist attacks worldwide target transportation systems, and of these attacks public transit is the most common transportation target. Analysis of more than 33,100 terrorist incidents from 1968 through 2005 indicate that attacks on land-based transportation targets, including mass transit, have the highest casualty rates of any type of terrorist attack. On average, attacks against such systems created more than two-and-a-half times the casualties per incident as attacks on aviation targets (Transit).

Why is mass transit a favored target? Mass transit systems are "open," they offer high concentrations of people, and provide the potential to cause large-scale chaos and fear.

The systems are inherently difficult to secure because of the volume of passengers, the high number of access points with few obvious inspection and control areas, the need for convenience, and low-cost fares with no requirement of advance purchase or passenger identification. These characteristics make it impossible to secure public transportation systems in the same way that aviation has been secured since 9/11.

Japanese Railway Security

On March, 1995 Japanese Buddhist extremist Aum Shinrikyo attacked the Tokyo subway system with sarin nerve gas. In the aftermath of this event, video cameras are now more widely used in the Tokyo subway to monitor the transit system and underground shopping arcades. Other countermeasures include closing off trashcans, searching for unattended packages and refuse, monitoring surveillance cameras, and patrolling rest rooms. However, it is still cautioned that terrorists will always find some way and some place to...