What is a soft target?
A soft target is a word that means “a target that is easy to attack” as a target of terrorism. It refers to places and people that are easily targeted due to lack of security and surveillance, and soft targets include private facilities, downtown areas, public transportation, and private people where an unspecified number of people gather. On the other hand, there is also the term hard target, which means a target that is difficult to attack due to strict security and surveillance, such as police and SDF facilities/people, and important politicians.
Terrorism targeting soft targets is occurring all over the world. In fact, there should be an opportunity to know in the news that there is an incident that kills civilians including the Japanese. Recent terrorist attacks targeting soft targets do not use firearms or explosives, and there is also a method of rushing into crowds such as tourist spots with a vehicle, so it is scary to know when and where it will be targeted. With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics coming up, measures against such terrorism are urgently needed in Japan as well
Terrorist attacks that occurred in the past
1. Dhaka Japan Airlines Hijacking Incident (1977, Bangladesh)
An incident caused by five armed Japanese Red Army groups. The Japanese Red Army is a new left-wing extremist organization that has caused various terrorist attacks since 1972. In this case, a Japanese aircraft from Paris to Haneda was hijacked after taking off from Mumbai, India, and forced to land at the airport in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. With 142 passengers and 14 crew members held hostage, they demanded a ransom and the release of members of the Japanese Red Army who were in prison or detained in Japan, and six who wished to leave the country were released by extrajudicial measures.
2.Subway sarin attack (1995, Japan)
A representative example of terrorism in Japan that had a great impact is large-scale chemical terrorism targeting the general public. Aleph, a new religious movement, sprayed sarin (a poisonous gas) in a subway car in central Tokyo, killing 13 people and injuring about 6,300. Victims complain of dyspnea and visual abnormalities, and many people still suffer from severe sequelae even after more than 20 years.
3.Dhaka hostage terrorist attack (2016, Bangladesh)
In Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh known as Japanophilia, Islamic extremist armed groups attack a restaurant. This is an incident in which 20 hostages, including 7 Japanese, were killed while taking customers and employees as hostages. In the previous year, a Japanese was killed by an Islamic extremist organization in Bangladesh, and it has been pointed out that this hostage terrorism may have been killed after knowing that it was Japanese.
4.2017 London Terrorist Attack (2017, England)
In March 2017, a car crashed into a sidewalk near the Westminster Capitol (the center of British politics) in London, killing three passers-by and injuring more than 40. The car crashed into an iron fence near the Capitol and stopped, and a policeman who tried to stop the man who came down from invading the Capitol was stabbed by a knife and died. In addition to this incident, in June of the same year, a car and a knife attacked passers-by around the market in central London, killing seven people and injuring more than 48.
What kind of terrorism has occurred frequently in recent years?
In recent years, there have been an increasing number of cases in which radical ideas that lead to terrorism are being spread through the Internet. In the past, terrorist organizations sent combatants to take command and carry out terrorism, but now it is possible to spread ideas on the Internet and attack sympathizers around the world. In many cases, the sympathizers show the sympathy and plan and execute it on their own, without the organization directing or contacting the sympathizers.
In 2014, a prominent preacher who instigated domestic and foreign Muslims in the United Kingdom was arrested on suspicion of terrorism, but many people were actually affected by such radical ideas, and the Dacca hostage terrorism incident The leader was following the preacher’s Twitter. It is also said that the suspect in the 2017 London terrorist attack may have been inspired by an international terrorist organization and committed the crime.
In this way, recently, there are more cases of low-tech and other terrorist acts being carried out in the local areas of the performers than in large-scale attacks. Such terrorist acts that are not directly related to terrorist organizations and are voluntarily performed by one to several people are called lone wolf type, and their targets are mainly soft targets, which have not been regarded as important until now. However, the current situation is that it is difficult to take countermeasures for places that correspond to soft targets because it is difficult to establish a strict security system in terms of their role and cost.
Results of opinion polls on anti-terrorism
Every day, news and other information about terrorism that is occurring around the world is provided, but what do the Japanese people think about terrorism? Let’s take a look at the results of the poll conducted in 2015.
When asked if they were worried about the occurrence of terrorism in Japan, 79.2% of the respondents answered “I feel uneasy” and “I feel uneasy if anything”. Only 6.2% answered that they do not feel anxious, and it seems that many people are anxious about terrorism. The main reasons for this are the fact that terrorism involving Japanese people is occurring overseas, and that terrorism is also occurring in developed countries such as Europe and the United States. In addition, 42.0% of the respondents said that “Japan’s countermeasures against terrorism are inadequate” as a reason that cannot be overlooked, and some people feel uneasy when considering the future occurrence of terrorism even if there is no problem so far. It seems that there are many.
As an effective terrorism prevention measure that the people think, “Do not let terrorists enter the country” was 61.8%. In addition, there are many opinions such as “collecting information on terrorist organizations, strengthening security by police,” and “strengthening regulations on the management and sale of explosives.” On the other hand, 41.8% of the respondents answered that “the government, the people, private companies, etc. will work closely together to collect and disseminate information, guard and guard”, raising awareness of terrorism as a whole society and ensuring cooperation. It can be said that it is required to take measures against.
Where is it easy to be targeted by terrorism?
In terrorism, military facilities, military personnel, political facilities, politicians, etc. may be targeted, but they are hard targets that are already under strict vigilance by police and security companies. In recent years, indiscriminate terrorism aimed at soft targets, which are targets where a large number of unspecified general citizens gather due to low security, has occurred frequently.
Places that are easily targeted include event venues, stadiums, festival venues, tourist destinations, railroads/subways, and commercial facilities. Even if you see a series of terrorist attacks in London, Paris, Brussels, Barcelona, etc., it can be said that soft targets centered on civilians will need special attention in the future.
Event organizers, event planning and management companies, advertising agencies, management companies such as theaters and stadiums, large commercial facilities, local governments, etc. are required to anticipate threats such as terrorism and take effective measures. I will. If you neglect to take safety measures, the damage will spread without any means to do it in case of emergency. In that case, the pursuit of social responsibility must also be considered a risk.
What to do as a countermeasure against terrorism
In anti-terrorism measures, it is important to consider how to prevent the outbreak and how to minimize the damage if it actually occurs.
As a preventive measure, analyze and simulate damage to facilities and people due to the occurrence of terrorism, risks to businesses, etc. At points that are likely to be targets of terrorism, we will introduce metal detectors and vehicle bottom monitoring systems (devices that check for dangerous objects hidden under the vehicle) to eliminate the causes of terrorism. At the same time, it is necessary to prepare an organization and command system to respond to the occurrence of terrorism and to establish an information-sharing network that includes staff, police and security companies.
As measures to prevent the spread of damage, explosion-proof trash cans (strong trash cans that can withstand the explosion of explosives inside) and explosion-proof sheets (explosion impacts) that are effective in the event of an explosive terrorism Installation of highly durable sheets to prevent scattered objects), emergency equipment, masks and protective clothing to protect yourself from toxic gas, etc. can be mentioned. In addition, effective measures include training and training of human resources who can accurately guide evacuation and setting up a shackle room