The former Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe,  was assassinated while giving a speech in Nara in 2022. VIP protection officers from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and the Nara Prefectural Police were protecting the Prime Minister. Yet the assailant was still able to get within meters of Abe and shoot him.

Now, in April 2023, there has been another attack, this time on the current Prime Minister of Japan, Fumio Kishida. This occurred while Kishida was meant to speak at a campaign rally in the city of Wakayama. A man threw a small bomb at Kishida, who was rushed to safety before the device exploded. A group of fishermen intervened, tackled the assailant to the ground, and held him there until the police could take over.

The Five Rings in Executive Protection

When carrying out protection, the team will set out three rings of protection, though sometimes up to five rings are needed depending on how many are needed. When looking at the area where Kishida was set to speak, it does not appear that there is an outer ring of protection set up. There was no fence or barrier set up so that the media and onlookers could be there while keeping a safe distance from Kishida. Ideally, there would have been sturdy barriers and security screening at  the entrance, which would have meant a check for weapons and other prohibited materials that could have disturbed the event. 

Purses and bags would have been checked, and metal detectors would have been present to ensure that nothing dangerous could even get near the Prime Minister. This is what the outer ring of protection is designed to do—the first ring of defense against threats and weapons. Without an outer ring of protect

In this instance, it appears that there was no access control whatsoever, and that could have been uniformed cops or private security to keep the Prime Minister safe. Instead, this was an event where anyone from the public could show up, and the Prime Minister was advertised to be there, but no one checked to ensure the event space was secure and kept safe.

With a solid security plan, there would have been that outer ring, and then the protection team could focus on keeping the middle ring and the inner ring safe and clear of threats. They would be moving throughout the crowd and looking for any type of threat, which might mean a knife or gun, an explosive device, or even a suspicious looking individual who should be observed throughout the event. Without these rings, the Prime Minister was left vulnerable to attack.

The assailant was able to enter the event with multiple explosive devices, and he moved in toward the Prime Minister and rolled a device toward Kishida. Thankfully, one of the protection agents saw this and quickly kicked the device away from Kishida, shielded him, and swiftly took him to safety. At a later point, it appears that there was an explosion that detonated where some of the crowd was still. The assailant was tackled by the group of fishermen, and after that, the police followed them.

It is obvious that there were no rings of protection at all and no searches of the area throughout the event. The local police should carry out the search with canine dogs to look for explosives and other weapons. This can clear an area and deem it safe. The whole area should have then been protected carefully until the Prime Minister arrived.

The Need for Premium Executive Protection Services

The fact that these two attacks occurred within nine months of each other makes it clear that the executive protection teams need to be retrained. They need to add specialized units to support them and help them ensure that every area they take the Prime Minister and other high profile politicians are kept secure. If the current Prime Minister is assassinated, it causes a huge problem for the entire country, and this should never be allowed to happen.

Their current team is not being careful or thorough enough in their security approach. Some of the problem has to do with training and not having specialized units or police with special training in dignitary protection. These individuals need a high level of dignitary training  alongside their police training so that they understand how to keep high level individuals safe and that they implement key security strategies like the three rings of protection.

This is a huge security failure on the part of the security teams and needs to be addressed and rectified as soon as possible to ensure the future safety of Japanese politicians. 
The World Protection Group is  a full-service international security firm that specializes in premium executive protection. Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential consultation about our VIP security services.

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