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3 anti-Imperial protesters arrested in Tokyo amid wide police presence

Police officers are seen establishing a presence on roads in Tokyo's Minato Ward, ahead of the Sokuirei-Seiden-no-gi accession ceremony, on the evening of Oct. 21, 2019. (Mainichi/Kimi Takeuchi)

TOKYO -- Hundreds of people are reported to have taken part in protests against the Imperial system on Oct. 22, the day of Emperor Naruhito's accession ceremony, and three people were arrested following clashes with riot police units, according to the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD).

Demonstrators were said to have advanced from Shinbashi in the capital's Chiyoda Ward, and met riot police while proceeding through the Ginza shopping district in Tokyo's Chuo Ward. Police said the three were arrested on the spot for crimes relating to obstruction of the performance of public duty.

With support from forces across the country, the MPD deployed some 23,500 officers to Tokyo as part of security for events surrounding the accession ceremony on Oct. 22. As the Sokuirei-Seiden-no-gi drew closer, the MPD established its highest level security headquarters under the command of the superintendent general, the first time the department has been set up since the hijacking of an All Nippon Airways plane in 1999.

The area around the grounds of the Imperial Palace was under patrol by numerous police officers from the morning of Oct. 22. Large scale traffic restrictions were in force until late into the night. To avoid incidents in which a vehicle could be used to ram into potential targets, police department buses were used to close up some traffic junctions, and an imposing atmosphere carried through to the end of the day.

(Japanese original by Takayuki Kanamori, City News Department)

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