CAMP ZAMA, Japan – While Japan is considered one of the safest countries in the world, U.S. Army Garrison Japan officials still want to remind community members to not be complacent when it comes to preventing terrorism.
Every August, the Army observes Antiterrorism Awareness Month to ensure sustained community vigilance against terrorist and extremist threats.
Terrorist activities can come in many forms, such as criminal, cyberattacks or counterintelligence collection, which can be aggregated information that paints a realistic picture of operational vulnerabilities.
“It really requires everyone to play a part,” said Joe Kelley, a management analyst for the Installation Emergency Management Office. “If you see something, say something. It’s that simple.”
Kelley said any suspicious activity, such as a bag left alone or a threatening email, should be reported to authorities to deter threats to national security and the local community.
“We need everyone’s eyes and ears,” he said.
The Army Antiterrorism Program aims to protect personnel, information, critical assets and facilities in all locations and situations against terrorism and violent extremism.
Community members can report concerning activity or behavior to the military police, local law enforcement or online via the Army Criminal Investigation Division crime tips website.
“Antiterrorism is everybody’s responsibility,” said Monte Powell, chief of plans for the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. “Everyone plays an important role in preventing terrorist acts.”
Powell said personnel should always be observant and attentive, as well as remember details about people, places and vehicles to provide authorities accurate information of a potential threat.
USAG Japan officials conduct random antiterrorism measure checks each month at offices across the installation. U.S. personnel are also required to complete Level 1 Antiterrorism Awareness Training annually online, Powell said.
When outside the gates or traveling overseas, Kelley said people should maintain situational awareness to avoid being a possible target. For instance, he suggested that U.S. personnel not wear anything that can identify them as an American.
Crime in Japan is generally low, but robberies involving a victim being drugged from a spiked drink can occur, especially in nightlife districts such as Roppongi, Kabukicho, Shibuya and Ikebukuro in Tokyo.
“It’s always good to do some research on where you’re going,” Kelley said. “And try to blend in as much as possible when you travel.”
Operational security must also be practiced when on social media, Kelley said, adding that users should be careful not to reveal personal information or specific details about an installation or mission.
“Just be conscientious of what you say on social media,” Kelley said. “You could be communicating with a bot account or they may not necessarily be who they say they are. They could be someone trying to cause harm.”
For more information on the Army Antiterrorism Program and what you can do to prevent terrorism, please see the links below.