Letters to the Editor,
The Daily Yomiuri,
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8055
I recently visited Tokyo Tower for the first time. Coincidentally, I also recently ascended the CN Tower in Toronto, Canada. At 553 meters the CN Tower is the tallest tower and man made structure on the planet - not the tallest “building,” which technically is different from a“tower.” But if a New Tokyo Tower is built as planned, then it will supersede the Toronto landmark and become the new record holder for height, and a lucrative tourist draw.
By comparison, I enjoyed the Tokyo Tower more. I visited on a week day with marginal weather, so crowds were light. But more than that, the smaller size of the tower made it feel less confusing, more user-friendly and more humanly proportional. I mean, less monstrously gigantic, which was a comfortable feeling.
One noteworthy thing, however, was the total absence of visible security at the Tokyo Tower. There was no screening of visitors at all, which feels wrong in this day and age of security and terrorism safety concerns. At the CN Tower all visitors were screened for explosives. I don’t know if that is a recent measure introduced after a significant terrorist conspiracy was uncovered there, or not. But it feels like a basic security measure these days, like metal detectors and X-ray machines at airports.
Japanese should understand that they are not immune to terrorism. Japan is not a neutral nation, but a major U.S. ally and a country that is now militarily committed in some global hotspots. Naivety at
home makes them and their landmarks easy targets.
Published on Tuesday, August 22, 2006 as “Mistaken complacency in dangerous times.”