The 34th edition of the NCT event series, NCT Asia Pacific 2018, took place from the 28th to the 30th of May in Tokyo, Japan. The event was organized by the CBRNe Society in partnership with the Japanese National Institute for NBCR Defense and the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Sciences and Technology (QST). The first ever edition of NCT in Japan brought together CBRNe professionals from more than 22 countries, from all areas of the world including the USA, Middle East, Europe, Southeast Asia, East Asia and Australia.
NCT Asia Pacific 2018 hosted two days of conferences and workshops, as well as an afternoon dedicated to the live capability demonstration. The event offered over 200 delegates the opportunity to share and discuss future challenges, capability development and lessons learned in the field of Medical Countermeasures and Decontamination, Protection of High Visibility Events and Countering Improvised Explosive Devices.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Sarin attack in the Tokyo Subway, Fukushima… Japan has, more than any other country in the world, experienced the brutal consequences of CBRNe events and attacks. In the context of the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics the importance of increasing Japan’s preparedness to respond to potential CBRNe events is crucial.
Live Capability Demonstration at JGSDF Chemical School HQ
The event kicked off on May 28th with a live capability demonstration held at the Headquarters of the Japanese Ground Self Defense Forces (JGSDF) at Camp Omiya.
Upon arrival, NCT Asia Pacific delegates were welcomed by Maj. Gen. Shunji Yoshino, Commander of the JGSDF Chemical School, who gave an introduction about the Chemical School and presented the scenario of the live demonstration. The live demo gave participants the opportunity to observe the response procedure of the JGSDF Chemical School and the Medical Units, in the context of a potential chemical attack during a High Visibility Event. The scenario started with the detonation of a chemical improvised explosive device in a stadium. After the explosion occurred, the first intervention consisted of the rescue operation by the JGSDF Medical Units of the victims of the explosion. Contaminated victims were brought to the decontamination facility where, in addition to the decontamination line, the Medical Units set up an emergency medical center to treat victims with severe injuries on-site. While the victims of the attacks were going through the decontamination procedure, the JGSDF Chemical School deployed a reconnaissance vehicle to conduct sampling of the contaminated area, monitor the presence of the chemical substance, and prevent further spread of contamination. Finally, two vehicles were deployed to decontaminate the blast area from the chemical substance released during the explosion.
After the live demonstration the participants had the chance to interact with the soldiers of the JGSDF Chemical School during a static display of CBRNe vehicles and equipment in use at Camp Omiya. The display included reconnaissance and decontamination vehicles, mobile hospitals, personal protective equipment and detection instruments.
Two days of conferences, workshops and an exhibition
The NCT Asia Pacific conference, chaired by Dr. Makoto Akashi, Executive Director of the National Institute for Quantum and Radiological Sciences and Technologies (QST), was opened by the President of the World Medical Association, Dr. Yoshitake Yokokura, who presented on the role of medical associations in enhancing disaster and crisis resilience. The opening plenary welcomed high-level keynote speakers, including Brig. Gen. Yoo Bong Heo, Commander of the ROK Army CBR Defense Command, Dr. Ron Hann, Director of the Chem/Bio Technologies Department at DTRA (Defense Threat Reduction Agency) and Maj. Gen. Shunji Yoshino, Commander of the JGSDF Chemical School. Following the opening of the conference, participants had the opportunity to take part in the thematic exhibition tours: NCT Expo Tours. This newly introduced feature of the NCT events gives delegates the opportunity to get insight into the innovative technologies and solutions being showcased at the NCT Asia Pacific Exhibition based on their main area of interest. Tour themes included: Medical Countermeasures and Decontamination, Radiological/Nuclear Detection and Identification, Bio Detection, Chemical Detection, Personal Protective Equipment and Training.
With Tokyo preparing for the 2020 Summer Olympics and the ever-growing global CBRNe threat, NCT Asia Pacific offered the perfect platform for Japanese CBRNe stakeholders to discuss approaches in protecting the city from potential attacks, whilst exchanging knowledge and lessons learned with international delegates in attendance. The event welcomed representatives from organizations including the Tokyo Fire Department, Tokyo Metropolitan Police, Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the Japanese Ministry of Health, the Korean CBR Defense Command, the Japan Ground Self Defense Forces, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Australian Department of Defense, the Bundeswehr and the US Army. Whilst the focus of the first conference day was the protection of high visibility events in the conference stream and medical countermeasures in the workshop stream, the second day provided valuable insights in topics such as the threat of radiological terrorism and countering explosive devices. Chairmen at the event included Maj. Gen. (ret.) Tadao Inoue, Former Commander of the JGSDF Chemical School and current President of the Japanese National Institute for NBCR Defense, Dr. Tetsuro Kiyozumi and Dr. Sae Ochi from the Japanese National Defense Medical College, Mr. Jon Beville from Heyl, Dr. Yasuhiro Kanatani, Director of the Department of Health Crisis Management at the National Institute of Public Health.
The closing plenary of NCT Asia Pacific demonstrated once again the global spirit of NCT events: speakers were representing the Spanish Institute of Nuclear Fusion, the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency and the National Coalition of Syrian Revolution and Opposition Forces represented by the Syrian Ambassador to Qatar H.E. Nizar Al Herakey, who called for the support of the international community in stopping the chemical attacks in Syria.
NCT Asia Pacific proved to be the perfect networking and knowledge sharing platform for the CBRNe and C-IED community in the entire Asian region and beyond. After two successful editions of NCT Asia Pacific in Korea, this year’s event offered Japanese and international stakeholders the opportunity to discuss recent developments in the field of CBRNe and contributed to prepare Tokyo to better respond to potential CBRNe events and attacks, especially in light of the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics.