The warning bells of a professional dignitary security guard who verified the crime scenes of former Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Kishida ring: “Education and training must change… | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The warning bells of a professional dignitary security guard who verified the crime scenes of former Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Kishida ring: “Education and training must change…

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Nara Prefectural Police inspect the scene near Yamato Saidaiji Station where former Prime Minister Abe was shot on July 8, ’22.

On July 8, 2010, a tragic incident occurred in which former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was killed by a bullet. Whatever the outrage, murder is a crime and must not be tolerated. To prevent a recurrence, we asked Hidetomo Koyamauchi, 51, of the Association of International Bodyguards (AICPO), a professional bodyguard for dignitaries, to review the incident again on the occasion of the third anniversary of his death. In the first part of the article, “Clients range from foreign royalty to world-class athletes……An astute bodyguard reveals his “biggest enemy to date”” Mr. Koyamauchi, introduced in Part 2, is the deputy director of the International Association of Bodyguards, which protects Middle Eastern royalty, state guests, famous foreign artists, and athletes, and is also the representative of the association’s Japanese branch.

First of all, the Kintetsu Yamato Saidaiji Station, where former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gave a speech, is crowded with people, making it difficult to place a campaign car there. In many cases, speeches in busy places are made from the top of a campaign car. If you are on a high car, it is difficult for attackers approaching on foot to get close to you. There was also a way to put the campaign car in the area to protect the back of the car, but the car on that day was not one that could give speeches from the top of the car, and there was no parking space, so the car could not be placed near the speaker.

The area was surrounded by guardrails on all four sides, and the campaigners could be seen from either direction. With a large commercial complex adjacent to the site and a train station, voters are likely to congregate. This shape was good for appealing to the good citizens, but if there were malicious assailants, the place would need to be guarded 360 degrees in all directions. It was the best place for assailants.

Illustration of the crime scene of the “shooting incident of former Prime Minister Abe” at the north exit of Kintetsu Yamato Saidaiji Station (created by Rie Ogasawara).

The Nara Prefectural Police made a hasty plan to protect and guard Abe’s speech, which was scheduled for the evening of the previous day. The prefectural police and campaign staff visited the site and decided where Mr. Abe would stand. We asked Mr. Osanai about this location and the security plan.

Was there any problem with the security plan?

The zebra zone surrounded by guardrails in front of Kintetsu Yamato Saidaiji Station, which was the site of the incident, was the worst possible place to attack from any of the four directions. The first thing to consider when making a plan, and the foundation of any security plan, is ‘setting a boundary. Boundary” means “boundary,” and the first thing to consider when making a plan is “setting a boundary,” which means deciding how far you will be responsible for security. For example, when guarding a bureaucrat in an important post at Kasumigaseki, it is impossible to guard the entire Kasumigaseki area, so we decide how far we will guard the area around the person to be guarded. This is called “setting a boundary.

Then, a system is created to immediately notice when a suspicious person approaches within the boundary. Also, decide on measures that can be taken immediately when a suspicious person or outsider enters the zone. In particular, be aware of the lines of movement of people, such as entrances, exits and passageways.

At the point of entry into this zone, an entry/exit check called “access control” should be conducted to bring it under the control of security. In dignitary security services, the setting of this zone of security responsibility is clearly determined in advance. This is the ‘boundary setting. When I saw the police officers guarding Shinzo Abe, I felt that they had neither “boundary setting” nor “access control” in place. They may not have realistically anticipated what dangers might occur at the scene.”

In the shooting incident involving former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, only one SP was trained to protect dignitaries. Furthermore, because the schedule was hastily decided on the previous evening, the hastily prepared Nara Prefectural Police team had not been thoroughly trained in protecting dignitaries. According to a report compiled by the Metropolitan Police Department, only four guards, three from the Nara Prefectural Police and an SP from the Metropolitan Police Department, were on duty in the zebra zone during the tour. The Nara Prefectural Police guards were on the lookout for the audience in front of them, while the one guard looking behind them was distracted by bicycles and other objects, and did not notice the approaching suspects at all.

The day after former Prime Minister Abe was shot, it rained like a battering ram, but the lines of condolences did not slow down.

So what was the response after the incident?

When an attacker attacks, the bodyguard first makes a move called “cover” to get between the threat and the target, but then immediately devotes all his energy to helping the target escape. When a criminal act is committed, the police officer’s attention is directed toward the criminal in order to apprehend him or her, but in the case of personal protection and protection of important persons, the bodyguard’s attention is directed toward the target of the attack in order to protect him or her.

In the world of bodyguards, it is said that there are only two actions to take when an emergency situation arises. Cover and Evacuate. Cover means that the bodyguard must first intervene immediately, breaking the line between the target and the threat so that the danger does not come into direct contact with the target.

However, it is very dangerous to keep the subject at the scene because the threat may still be able to attack, there may be more than one threat, and the next attack may be imminent. Therefore, we must get them away from the site as soon as possible. This is called “Evacuate. This “Cover and Evacuate” is an ironclad rule for bodyguards in the event of an emergency.

Bodyguards are thoroughly trained to “cover and evacuate” immediately in the event of an emergency, but they must be well prepared to do so. At the scene of the incident involving former Prime Minister Abe, the vehicle in which he was riding was kept a short distance away and a roadblock was immediately set up, so that his vehicle could not approach the scene and evacuation was delayed. This seems to be due to a lack of understanding of the concept of boundaries (boundaries that should be guarded) and a lack of a security plan that anticipated cover and evacuation in the event of an emergency. I felt that the biggest problem in this incident was the lack of education and training for the security personnel in charge of personal security and protection of VIPs.

On April 15, ’23, Prime Minister Kishida rushed to Zogasaki fishing port in Wakayama City, Wakayama Prefecture, to give an election speech. Later that day, a man threw an iron pipe bomb at PM Kishida’s feet just before his speech.

On April 15, ’23, just nine months after former Prime Minister Abe was shot, an explosive device was thrown at Prime Minister Fumio Kishida at a fishing port in Wakayama City, who was there to give a speech in support of the lower house supplementary election. A police officer and a man in the audience sustained minor injuries, but the prime minister was unharmed. As in the case of the shooting of former Prime Minister Abe, the perpetrator was secured on the spot and charged with attempted murder and violation of explosives control penalties, among other crimes.

Map of the scene of the attack on Prime Minister Kishida (prepared by Rie Ogasawara)

In the attack on Prime Minister Kishida, the police set up a boundary line such as a corn bar between the audience and Prime Minister Kishida, who was the target of the police protection, and assumed a zone to be protected. In addition, an emergency evacuation vehicle was parked nearby, and a no-entry zone was set up around the vehicle. Immediately after the incident, police guards brushed away the thrown explosives with their bags and feet, and immediately evacuated the prime minister in the emergency evacuation vehicle.

Based on the reflection of the incident at the time of the shooting of former Prime Minister Abe, the police seemed to have been aware of the cover and evacuate zone.

How was this incident of Prime Minister Kishida handled?

Mr. Kishida’s incident was much improved from that of Mr. Abe’s. I was able to evacuate him by putting him in a car right away, and I was able to react relatively quickly, although I was not sure about kicking explosives with my foot or anything like that. Perhaps at the time of Mr. Abe, they did not envision an actual attack, but I think that incident changed the mindset of the police, leading to the relatively quick response in the case of Mr. Kishida.”

In light of the incidents in which the prime minister and former prime minister were attacked within a year of each other, Mr. Koyamauchi summed up the situation in the following way.

In light of the attacks on the prime minister and former prime minister within a year of each other, Koyamauchi concluded his remarks by saying, “I don’t think the police officers and SPs on the scene were to blame. I do not think the police officers and SPs who were on the scene are to blame. Certainly, at the time of the attack on former Prime Minister Abe, it was a major problem that the two basic actions of ‘cover and evacuate’ in an emergency were not performed at all. However, their awareness of crisis, ability to realistically envision threats, and mental and physical readiness for emergency response actions can be cultivated through education and training. Unless we fundamentally change this education and training, the same thing could happen again. It all depends on the education and training we receive from now on.”

Members of the general public come to offer their condolences on July 9, 2010, the day after the incident. The X mark that appeared to be the location where former Prime Minister Abe collapsed was very graphic.
The scene of the shooting of former Prime Minister Abe on July 9, 2010, the day after the incident, photographed from a high vantage point.
Mr. Koyamauchi examines the security of the attack on former Prime Minister Abe and Prime Minister Kishida
  • Interview, text, illustrations Rie Ogasawara

    Rie Ogasawara is a national defense journalist. After graduating from Kansai Gaidai University, she worked as a freelance writer focusing on the Self-Defense Forces and security issues, and is the author of "Self-Defense Forces Personnel Buy Toilet Paper at Bases with Their Own Money" (Fusosha Shinsho), published in 2007. He was awarded the Seishi Sanshuji Award in the 15th "True Modern History" Essay Contest sponsored by the APA Foundation for the Rebuilding of Japan. Columnist for Sankei Shimbun's "Shimbun ni Kakaku! columnist for the Sankei Shimbun.

  • PHOTO Afro (1st photo) Kyodo News (3rd photo) Takeo Yui (2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th photos)

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