No-fly zone planned for G-8 talks

The government plans to set up a 55-kilometer no-fly zone around the Lake Toyako resort in Hokkaido and strengthen other anti-terrorism measures during the Group of Eight summit in July, sources said.

The government will deploy Air Self-Defense Force aircraft equipped with the Airborne Warning and Control System and the Maritime SDF's P-3C anti-submarine patrol aircraft around the venue. It will also use the SDF's radar network to detect early signs of a terrorist attack.

If there is any threat of terrorism, the government will immediately evacuate summit participants from the venue, the sources said.

As a countermeasure to the threat of demonstrations and riots by anti-globalism activists, the government plans to apply anti-hooligan provisions under the immigration control law, which enables Japan to keep out any individual feared to be a lawbreaker with the potential to hurt people or damage buildings.

The venue of the G-8 summit, the Windsor Hotel Toya, is located on the top of the 620-meter Mount Poromoi, which overlooks Lake Toyako. The geographical features makes it easier to defend against a land attack.

To guard against a possible air attack, the government will prohibit flights of civilian aircraft within the no-fly zone.

However, there are no legal grounds to restrict flights of light airplanes, helicopters and radio-controlled model planes, so the government will ask for cooperation.

Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba said the ministry is considering countermeasures against every possible situation, suggesting that shooting down a plane heading toward the venue is under discussion as an option.

Sources said, however, it would be impossible to actually shoot down such a plane, and that evacuating participants from the venue is more realistic.

The government will also tighten security patrols and baggage inspections at airports across the nation during the summit. In addition, police officers will be aboard civilian flights to prevent hijack attempts.

Germany revised its aviation safety law in September 2004 to enable the shooting down of civilian aircraft in emergencies before the nation hosted the soccer World Cup in 2006 and the G-8 summit in Heiligendamm in 2007.

However, the German constitutional court ruled in February 2006 that the revision was unconstitutional because German military forces can be deployed within the nation only under certain conditions, such as natural disasters and catastrophic accidents. (IHT/Asahi: February 19,2008)