Tokyo Armed policemen patrol streets on the way to school, education officials draw up safety maps and young students carry alarms to call for help in an emergency.
A spate of grisly crimes targeting schoolchildren has horrified Japan and dealt a serious blow to its image as a safe country for children. The killings - one girl's corpse was stuffed into a box and another victim was stabbed a dozen times in the chest - have put authorities on alert and worried parents on edge.
Education authorities and police are examining the routes children take to school, warning students about talking to strangers and establishing neighborhood "safe-houses" where kids can flee if they feel threatened.
Technology also is playing a part. Authorities are stepping up plans to provide children with special alarms and tracking devices, and to establish cell phone networks to alert parents and children when a threat is spotted.