- Title: JAPAN: THE JAPANESE ARE PREPARING FOR POSSIBLE BIO-CHEMICAL ATTACK
- Date: 10th October 2001
- Summary: (W3)TOKYO, JAPAN (OCTOBER 10, 2001)(REUTERS) MCU (Japanese) ISSEI KIKUCHI, PRESS OFFICER OF KOKEN CO. SAYING "We've been researching this sort of mask that will be of use to the general public ever since the 1995 sarin gas attacks."
- Embargoed: 25th October 2001 13:00
- Location: TOKYO AND KAMIKUISHIKI, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Health,Defence / Military,Science
- Reuters ID: LVAEAIWL5N4212ALP4Y57N37UT3Z
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: The Japanese are preparing for a possible bio-chemical attack.
A special counter-terrorism unit of the Japanese Metropolitan police went through their drill on Wednesday (October 10).
The unit is loosely called the NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) terrorism investigation unit and is responsible for reacting to any bio-chemical attack in Japan.
Although it was only formed last year, the idea of creating this unit was initially conceived in the aftermath of sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway in 1995 which killed 12 commuters and injured more than 5,000 more as they headed for work.
Since the September 11 attacks in the United States last month, the unit has doubled in size to respond to public fears that some groups may resort to the same tactics as the Aum Shinrikyo cult did in the subway attacks in 1995.
The drill assumed two men had attacked an undetermined site with toxic gas and bacterial agents.
Police moved in wearing protective suits and masks and equipped with chemical sprays to analyze and neutralize the chemical and biological substances.
In Tokyo, private companies were also preparing for the worst.
Koken Co., a gas mask maker, announced on Wednesday (October 10) that it was soon going to release an emergency mask that can filter biological agents.
Most gas masks on the market for the general public can filter poison substances but are powerless to stop small viral or bacterial agents from being breathed in.
"We were flooded by calls from the general public since the terrorist attack (last month), that's why we've decided to release these emergency gas masks," said Koken press officer Issei Kikuchi.
"We've being researching this sort of mask that will be of use to the general public ever since the 1995 sarin gas attacks," he added.
Industrial and military masks are, of course, of better quality but tend to be too expensive and beyond the reach of the average consumer.
However at 7,000 yen (58.21 U.S. dollars) the more basic masks can prevent at least the worst of infections.
Makers of the mask warn that the model they are launching in November will be effective only against air-borne infections that get in the body through the respiratory system.
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