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Bioterrorism in Japan: the reasons and prevention

When we mention bioterrorism, the general definition for it would be any use or threat of use of microbes, viruses, or toxins aiming to infect civilians and damage economic infrastructure in order to achieve political, social, religious, ideological or personal goals. As a rule, the threat of use of biological weapons is sowing panic among the population.

Regardless of a clear definition and a clear threat to humanity, the very term “bioterrorism” is barely used in any global documents or conventions. Contributing to biological warfare, as well as storing or transporting any microorganisms, is in most cases prohibited by international conventions and national laws. The most important restriction is highlighted in the Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxin Weapons, which, however, does not contain the term "bioterrorism" as well simply because it was not relevant when the paper was signed in 1972. Until recently, acts of bioterrorism were considered rare and such criminal actions were only committed by individuals or groups, not states.

In different historical periods, operational plans involving bioterrorism were developed in Germany, Japan, the USSR, the USA, South Africa and Iraq. The decision to hold a bioterrorist operation can be made by a terrorist group without any government support. The history of bioterrorism in Japan, however, roots back to the Second World War. Back then, Japan has distributed the fleas infected with the plague in dozens of Chinese cities. Among the most widely known attempts to commit an act of bioterrorism is the one that took place Japan in 1994. It was carried out by a cult sect called Aum Shinrikyo, which let sarin gas fill the subway. Twelve people died, fifty-four seriously injured and more than a thousand of innocent civilians infected. Later, they tried to spray anthrax bacteria from the tower in Tokyo. There is still no record of where the cult obtained the bacteria from and what their exact intentions were.

To prevent an act of bioterrorism is almost an impossible ambition. Which is why, it is necessary to raise awareness of representatives of regulatory and law enforcement agencies and citizens about bioterrorism and its consequences. Most importantly, a state need to have a strong material and technical basis for prevention, early detection, identification and elimination of the consequences of bioterrorist attacks.

When we mention bioterrorism, the general definition for it would be any use or threat of use of microbes, viruses, or toxins aiming to infect civilians and damage economic infrastructure in order to achieve political, social, religious, ideological or personal goals. As a rule, the threat of use of biological weapons is sowing panic among the population.

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100002645
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CREATED ON
October 20, 2016
COMPLETED ON
October 21, 2016
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