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Security beefed up at Tokyo high school attended by Japan's Prince Hisahito

Ochanomizu University Junior High School is seen in this April 27, 2019 file photo taken in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter. (Mainichi/Akinori Miyamoto)

TOKYO -- A public senior high school in Japan's capital has strengthened its security as Prince Hisahito, the 15-year-old son of Crown Prince Akishino (Fumihito), joined its roll on April 9.

    Senior High School at Otsuka, University of Tsukuba, in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward has installed surveillance cameras and is asking visitors to bring ID, among other measures.

    Prince Hisahito's enrollment marks the first time since the end of World War II that a member of Japan's Imperial Family has attended a high school not affiliated with Gakushuin University.

    "We now need to present ID when entering the school," said one source connected with a children's sports school that borrows the high school's athletic field for its activities. The source revealed that the beefed-up security has been in effect since this month. Even when children are playing sports, they must have their ID cards with them, and parents have been asked to have their driver's licenses or other ID with them at all times. The source added that there are now two security guards at the front gate around the clock.

    Spikes are seen on the wall surrounding Senior High School at Otsuka, University of Tsukuba, in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward, on April 6, 2022. (Mainichi)

    The outer wall along the hedge surrounding the school grounds is topped with new-looking metal spikes. The school has also repaired fences and installed security cameras.

    According to a figure close to the Imperial Household Agency, Crown Prince Akishino had not originally requested extra security measures, as he was concerned about the potential impact on the lives of ordinary citizens.

    However, in April 2019, when Prince Hisahito was attending Ochanomizu University Junior High School in Tokyo, one morning two knives were found left on his desk, shocking people in the Imperial Household.

    The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) arrested a 56-year-old man on suspicion of trespassing over the incident. Although he was not confirmed to be affiliated with a specific group, he reportedly stated during the investigation that he was dissatisfied with Japan's imperial system.

    Prince Hisahito is seen speaking about his new goals ahead of the entrance ceremony of Senior High School at Otsuka, University of Tsukuba, in Tokyo's Bunkyo Ward on April 9, 2022. (Pool photo)

    At a June 2019 press conference, Prince Akishino reiterated, "Security is certainly important, but I'd like to avoid a situation where some sort of inconvenience arises in the lives of citizens." The MPD has been taking measures to prevent a recurrence while also following the wishes of Prince Akishino.

    In February this year, a senior MPD officer in charge of guarding the Emperor Naruhito and Imperial Family members was made head of Otsuka Police Station, which has Senior High School at Otsuka in its jurisdiction. Another police station chief and former senior officer at the MPD's security bureau was also assigned to a post overseeing Otsuka Police Station.

    A woman in her 70s living nearby said that in March, she saw a police officer checking for suspicious objects in a pathway leading to the school. She commented, "It's good for residents, too, that security is being reinforced."

    (Japanese original by Hiroyuki Takashima, Tokyo City News Department)

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