Ghibli Museum Runs Its First Anti-Terrorism Exercises

posted on 2007-12-31 18:05 EST by Egan Loo
Drills aimed to raise security before July's G8 Summit in Japan

The Ghibli Museum, the first and only museum dedicated to the anime works of Studio Ghibli in Japan, held anti-terrorism exercises last month. The exercises were the first such drills ever held in the museum and in Mitaka, a city west of Tokyo. The drills tested the authorities' ability to respond to nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) terrorist attacks. About 180 members of the police, fire department, government, and the museum's own staff participated.

The next annual Group of Eight (G8) Summit between the heads of state of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United States, and United Kingdom will be held in the northern Japanese city of Toyako in July. The heads of Brazil, India, Mexico, China, South Africa, and several organizations including the African Union and the United Nations have also been invited to participate. Due to the controversy that surrounds the meeting of the most powerful economic powers of the world, the Ghibli Museum joined other popular sites in Japan in raising its security profile before the summit. 56 people died in bombings in London that were apparently set to coincide with the 2005 G8 summit in Scotland.

One exercise tested the participants' response to a hypothetical sarin gas attack within the Ghibli Museum. The participants practiced what to do in an emergency evacuation, when some of the museum's patrons would need assistance because they had collapsed or were coughing violently. Mobile police units also practiced the donning of anti-chemical warfare gear before sweeping the building. Sarin has been topical concern for Japan ever since the religious Aum Shinrikyo cult used the chemical nerve agent to cause 19 deaths and thousands of injuries in the city of Matsumoto in 1994 and in the Tokyo subway attacks of 1995.

The museum opened in 2001, and has enjoyed capacity crowds and an average annual attendance of 700,000 ever since. People in Japan have to book reservations several months in advance for the 2,400 tickets set aside for each day.

Thank you to enjin2000 for the news tip.

Source: Sankei Shimbun (expired link)

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