Lost codes spark Japan airport scramble on eve of Obama trip

April 22, 2014 7:00 am
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A police officer patrols the departure terminal at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo ahead of the upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama/AFP
A police officer patrols the departure terminal at Haneda International Airport in Tokyo ahead of the upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama/AFP
TOKYO, Apr 22 – Airport authorities in Japan launched a frantic scramble to change security pass codes, an official said Tuesday, the day before Barack Obama arrives, after an airline employee dropped a memo containing the details.

The news came as security in the Japanese capital was dramatically ramped up, with 16,000 police officers deployed in readiness for the first state visit by a US president in nearly two decades.

A Skymark Airlines employee at the busy Haneda airport in Tokyo lost a piece of paper bearing security codes on Sunday afternoon, a transport ministry official said.

The note was found on the floor of the departure lobby around half-an-hour later, he said.

The ministry instructed the firm that manages the airport to immediately change the pass codes, to avoid any danger of a security breach, the official said.

In the city proper, a heightened police presence has made the sight of officers patrolling streets and stations commonplace.

Local media said a full third of Tokyo’s police force had been pressed into service for Obama’s two-night visit, which begins Wednesday.

Left luggage lockers and rubbish bins have been sealed in some stations and thousands of security cameras have been put into operation.

Obama is due to leave Tokyo bound for Seoul on Friday morning.

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