Tranquil Japanese city says it will host safe '98 Olympics
August 1, 1996
Web posted at: 12:40 a.m. EDT
From Correspondent May Lee
NAGANO, Japan (CNN) -- Many residents of Nagano read about
the bombing at the Olympic Games in Atlanta and shrugged.
There is no question, they say, that the 1998 Winter Olympic
Games in Nagano will be safe.
Most people who live in Nagano don't believe a bombing could
happen in the Japanese city.
"I was so shocked by what happened," one woman said. "Japan
is a very safe country."
Another woman agreed. "Japan doesn't have to worry about
terrorism. It's a safe country."
The Nagano Olympic Committee is hammering out a strategy to
ensure that the Winter Games and its venues are secure.
But unlike Atlanta, which heavily publicized its security
plans, Nagano -- which prides itself on its serenity --
doesn't aim to stifle the city with a blanket of police and
"We don't really want an image of overly strict security with
guards everywhere," Olympic Security Director Asata Hara
said. "So we're aiming to create an atmosphere with softer,
more sympathetic security for both the athletes and the
However, after the March 1995 sarin nerve gas attack in Tokyo
subways that killed about a dozen people and the deadly 1994
gas attack in the quiet town of Matsumoto, just 50 miles from
Nagano, some in Nagano think a blanket approach would be
Innkeeper Toshio Hirano believes home-grown terrorism has to
be taken seriously.
"My friend was a victim of Matsumoto poison gas (a) couple of
years ago," he said. "And it was made by regular people just
like you. So nobody knows who's going to do it. So it's
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