crime

Assistant police inspector arrested for drunk driving at 8 a.m.

56 Comments

Police in Taragi, Kumamoto Prefecture, said Monday that a 55-year-old assistant police inspector was arrested on Sunday at around 8 a.m. while driving drunk to work.

The man, who has been named as Hiroshi Sakata, was arrested after his vehicle ran into the rear of a taxi waiting at a stop light, Fuji TV reported. Sakata was asked to take a breathalyzer test, which registered 0.63 milligrams of alcohol per liter. The legal limit in Japan is 0.03 mg/ml.

During questioning, Sakata was quoted by investigators as saying that he had been drinking from midday until 9 p.m. Saturday, Fuji reported.

Kumamoto Prefectural Police released a statement in which it said that Sakata would be disciplined for his behavior and that the force would do its utmost to prevent similar incidents in the future.

© Japan Today

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56 Comments
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I'm not sure I'd call that "drunk driving" but more of a case of having traces of alcohol still in his body from the drinking the day before. Basically at a legal limit of 0.03 mg/ml it is effectively zero. I know some zealots like to hang, draw and quarter DIC drivers but this surely is at the very low end of the scale.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Kumamoto Prefectural Police released a statement in which it said that Sakata would be disciplined for his behavior and that the force would do its utmost to prevent similar incidents in the future.

He gets to keep his job? REALLY?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Fire him. If car makers fire low level employees for drunk driving, so should the cops - more so in this guy's position.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

.63 is a LOT higher than the legal limit of .03. He also claimed not to have been drinking for 11 hours prior to the accident - but the level in his blood was still this high? So that smacks of BS too.

Never mind being disciplined - why isnt he being prosecuted? This IS illegal, right? If he couldnt control the car and drove into another one, that could just as easily have been a child on its way to school at that time of day.

I know some zealots like to hang, draw and quarter DIC drivers but this surely is at the very low end of the scale.

Ones who have lost loved ones to these selfish idiots, yes, I would imagine they probably do.

6 ( +11 / -5 )

I have got sh!t faced many times that I can't count in this concrete jungle called Tokyo. So I'm not the one that can say to any human not to drink booze! But police? at 8 am??? You've got to be kidding me..

1 ( +2 / -1 )

20 times above the legal limit and disciplined? A smart young man could do no better than join the force, a life time job no matter what you do. Not just the LAW, ABOVE IT.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Aaah yes, he will be disciplined ...so he will get a letter asking him not to do it again and if he really has bad luck maybe a 10% paycut for a couple of months.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So let's see, what was he doing between 9PM and 8AM?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

How many points on his license ?

It is apparent that he must have been erratic in his driving to get breathlysed at 8am !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

8 hours later and he STILL had .63 BAC? BS! I highly doubt he finished drinking at 9pm and then had a quiet sleep waking up with that much alcohol still in his system. I love how it's always the average person here who gets screwed while people in authority, like said police officer, get off the hook.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

sorry, should read 11 hours later. sorry.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Should be charged. Should get maximum penalty. Should be disciplined at work or dismissed. If not dismissed then demoted.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Ah yes, it has been a couple of days already without a crazy J-cop sotry. And now here we go again.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If he'd been working for the Met Force in London, he'd have just flashed his warrant card and been on his way (not saying that like it's a good thing); looks like the cops over here favour the law over cronyism now and then.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

He should have had some tomato juice before getting into the car.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

the reason why it'll only be a slap on the wrist is because he was probably forced to drink with his bosses all night.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I think people may be confusing the law here regarding drunk driving and driving under the influence.

This guy got nailed for the DUI only because he hit the taxi. Odds are he would have gotten off scott-free if the accident did not occur. I am glad no one was injured, and also glad that it caught this cop too. He deserves to get nailed the same as any other government employee and imo even more so BECAUSE he is a cop and should be following the law and not breaking it.

There are plenty of people on the roads in the AM hours that are still feeling the effects of the night before and have seen on a number of occasions police setting up check points in the AM hours to catch the folks that did not stop drinking early enough to be safe to drive.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Sakata was asked to take a breathalyzer test, which registered 0.63 milligrams of alcohol per liter. The legal limit in Japan is 0.03 mg/ml."

For those who think he was 21 times over the limit, the JT story seems to have some errors. His breathalyzer test gave a reading of 0.63 mg per liter of breath. Liter, not millilitre.

The blood alcohol limit in Japan is 0.03 mg/ml. The story should therefore say that "The blood alcohol legal limit in Japan is 0.03 mg/ml".

Therefore, since we don't know what his blood test result was, we don't know precisely how far over the legal limit he was.

Anyone here an expert on breathalyzer interpretation? Not me...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

With the risk to be bashed I think the "disciplined" comes from his department. I'm sure he will be charged and appropriate legal actions will be taken from traffic police and prosecution.

I always have the impression it is too harsh civil workers here get immediately sacked for any offense they do in their private life. Let him bare the consequences of his actions but if he is good professional why sack him?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It is apparent that he must have been erratic in his driving to get breathlysed at 8am !

I'd say it is pretty apparent he must have been erratic in that he ran into the rear of a taxi waiting at a stop light. That is why he was tested.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

An BAC of 0.63? I would think that the reason he was given a breathalyzer test was because he was very drunk.

A BAC of 0.5 is considered lethal by a Wikipedia article.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_alcohol_content

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@jonobugs, The wikipedia article refers to blodalcohol level in volume percentage. The article refers to breathalyzer results of 0.63 mg / liter. And a legal limit of blood alcohol at 0.03 mg/liter.

Some clarifications from JT would really help, but I suspect they are just providing the data as they got it from the police department.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not blood, his breath was 0.63. Per litre, not ml.

I explained it above...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Bogva

Police training 101 states that in order to uphold the law, you must be a paragon of virtue by not breaking it yourself.

Therefore, a "good professional" DUI policeman, especially a policeman of his rank, is an oxymoron.

I can't say I'm surprised he will only be disciplined. Yesterday I went to the Koban to report some guy who nearly wiped me out by changing lanes on me whilst I was riding my motorbike; the reason - he was on his phone. The most astonishing thing was that despite my beeping and shouting, he continued to pull into my lane, and just gave a look of nonchalance at me whilst carrying on with his call. Fortunately for me, I now wear a helmet cam, and got it all on video. My friendly Koban cop advised me that they at the Koban could only contact him and ask him to be more careful. I said that that was woefully insufficient, and that a driver that would do that kind of thing in the first place wouldn't pay any heed to such a request anyway. I was told I'd have to go to the nearest main police station if I wanted to take the matter further...

"Police" in this country don't deserve the title.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

The legal limit in Japan is 0.03 mg/ml.

Since when was this introduced? It used to be 0.00 and if you drank non alcohol beer you would get done, I remember the stickers in the family restaurants covering up the word "non" with "low" after several people were arrested for drinking non alcoholic beer, I guess since the JP beer makers came on board with the non alcohol beers the limit was increased.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Another day another group of people flying off the handle at information they don't understand. At least dragsby has a brain. You cannot straight up compare liters to milliliters. The difference would be 1000 times! That in itself should be a no-brainer, but I guess even no-brainers do require a little bit of brains!

All that is bad enough, but there are tremendous difficulties accurately measuring alcohol content in the blood. They have not been overcome. Yet people have faith in a non-scientist cop with a breath tester in his hand? Insane faith clearly is not limited to religions!

You don't need to be drunk to hit the back of a taxi. Most people who do it are not drunk. Most people are pretty honest too, and if he says he was drinking until 9 pm, he probably was. 11 hours later, he had a minor accident. Suddenly people want his job when according to science, if his breath test was as high as they think it was, he would be dead!

5 ( +6 / -1 )

It used to be 0.00

No human alive could produce that result unless the test kit was even more faulty than they all are!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Don't they have a zero tolerance policy here in Japan? That's minor jail time isn't it? The police in this country are a joke.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ah, the J-cops.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The legal limit should be higher.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The blood alcohol concentration legal limit is 0.03 mg/ml. The breath alcohol concentration legal limit is 0.15 mg. (both for DUI) There are no set of numbers for drunken driving.

http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E9%A3%B2%E9%85%92%E9%81%8B%E8%BB%A2

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The legal limit should be higher.

The limits used to be quite sane and the DUI related deaths and accidents were already low and have not changed much, assuming the country has not gotten over the initial shock of zero tolerance and the numbers are not back to usual.. It seems the policy changed because the government needed more money. Meanwhile, old people continue to wipe out lives on the road, including their own, and the government does not bother to keep a proper accounting of them, because that might be discriminatory.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

"disciplined for his behavior " are you kidding me? he should sentence with the MAXIMUM sentence possible and FIRED. none of us would be given such leniency. Drunk driving is 100% UNFORGIVABLE and this is a man who is suppose to be setting an example!

PER CAPITA Japan has a higher alcohol related fatality rate than the USA. Even WITH the lower speed limits and "ZERO TOLERANCE" laws. I try to never speak ill of this countries customs and norms as I am guest here. but COME ON JAPAN, when it comes to your "zero tolerance" you are ALL talk. They hardly ever have mandatory road stops to check for dunk driving at peak hours becusae they know they will have to arrest AT LEAST 10% of every salaryman driving home from their mandatory after work snack bar.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

kaminarioyaji

I do not understand "the J police do not deserve the title" statement which obviously resulted from the fact that the policeman at the koban told you to go to the nearest police station. He told you to do so because the law is set in that way. If the law does not authorize him to do what you wanted him to do, he not only would not, but could not do it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Most people are pretty honest too, and if he says he was drinking until 9 pm, he probably was

Oh please. People try to BS their way out of trouble here every day, especially after traffic accidents. You have a point that the report makes it almost impossible to figure out if he was drunk or not (comparing breath levels to blood levels - apologies for missing that) but claiming in a situation like this that most people are honest? Absolutely not true.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@JaneM

My comment was in regard to the all too many occurrences of J-police breaking the law themselves and also the fact that I should be able to report a crime once, and once only, for the police the take action, especially when I had unequivocal proof (video of the incident). Once I have reported it, the onus is then on the police to act upon it.

I mean, for one thing, in Japan you have to go the the nearest Koban to which the incident happened, even if you live miles away. Been told before when I went to my nearest Koban "We don't deal with that area, you need to go to XYZ Koban"

I understand perfectly that the system is set up that way, but that is how the police have set it up themselves, and if it's not fit for purpose, as my argument in the preceding paragraphs suggests, then the police themselves need to change it. The onus should not be on me to pursue a case beyond first reporting it. That is not Policing.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

about every 50 minutes someone DIES in a alcohol related crash. about 11,000 people a year. PREVENTABLE deaths!

I am sorry, but someone who interprets the word related to mean caused should not be calling other people morons. If a drunk driver is asleep at a red light and a sober driver plows into the back of him, its an alcohol related accident, but obviously not caused by alcohol.

I seriously doubt this accident was caused by alcohol either. It might have been caused by being late for work, speeding to make up for it, and the bad luck of having a taxi driver slam on the brakes.

There was a time when anti drunk driving crusaders were sorely needed. But that time is over. Zealots out of their era and time of need is not a pretty thing.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This man was functioning over a lethal limit. I wonder what kind of smacking headache hangover he had after coming to in jail.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am an ex military police officer and worked in japan. The Japanese breath tests are notoriously wrong. I gave a test once after a jp test and the guy barely registered. The jp test said he was twice their legal limit. He was let go after the interpreter called him on faulty equipment.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I'm sorry for this guy, he followed the "rule of thumb" for drinking in Japan (i.e. wait 8 hours from when you finish drinking until you can drive again), but the fact remains that if anyone else did this then they'd be prosecuted. One cannot apply a less severe penalty to someone who works with the police, simply because that's a sure route to corruption (it starts with parking tickets and pretty soon cops are murdering people because they get the idea that the law doesn't apply to them).

This guy needs to be prosecuted the same as any other citizen who broke the law. End of story.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Kumamoto Prefectural Police released a statement in which it said that Sakata would be disciplined for his behavior and that the force would do its utmost to prevent similar incidents in the future.

In other words '' We won't be taking this any further and similar incidents will occur in the future''

You can't have 1 rule for the citizens and another rule for the police. It wouldn't change the death of a innocent bystander.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Bravo!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This guy needs to be prosecuted the same as any other citizen who broke the law. End of story.

Judging by your first words in that same post, don't you mean he should be treated the same, and the same should be everyone getting a break?

I mean gee, if you wait 11 hours before driving and still get busted, then when the hell can you drink? I have given up alcohol completely because of this nonsense and I am most certainly not better for it. I have no real option but the car to do anything where I live, and if I even have one glass of wine and something comes up, I am scroobed. And its not like we have breath tests lying around to even know if we are legal 4 hours later, 11 hours later, or 24 hours later.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thesedreams, 'I mean gee, if you wait 11 hours before driving and still get busted, then when the hell can you drink?'

The answer is drink when you like but don't go on a bender and expect to drive the next morning. He admits drinking for 9 hours. He was accumulating alcohol all that time. Depending upon how much he drank, 11 hours could easily be too little time for the booze to clear his system. Following his extended session he's had a road accident and the subsequent breathalyser indicates he's over the limit.

This guy's a copper, he knows the rules and is tasked with enforcing them. At the very least he should be treated as any one else, investigated, tested and if found guilty, punished. Police 'discipline' should be in addition to, not instead of the legal process.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

If he had gone to a koban he could have had a free check. What is more,as a policeman he has a higher level towards the public. By breaching this trust he should be demoted or fired.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

thesedreamsJun. 05, 2012 - 05:56PM JST

This guy needs to be prosecuted the same as any other citizen who broke the law. End of story. Judging by your first words in that same post, don't you mean he should be treated the same, and the same should be everyone getting a break?

While I think that charging someone who took reasonable precautions to drive sober is unfair the law is unfortunately a blunt sledgehammer as opposed to the scalpel of common sense. The fact is that, legally speaking, anyone else would be charged, lose their jobs and be publically humiliated. The same should apply to this guy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Police tend to exhonorate themselves whenever exposed, They are their own kind of gang. I doubt this inspector will get into any trouble. He will be right back at his normal beat, normal behavior in no time. Kampai!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The answer is drink when you like but don't go on a bender and expect to drive the next morning.

Don't listen to this guy. See, it used to be that way. But since the zero tolerance policy you don't have to drink so much to be illegal the next morning. Don't fool with it people.

He admits drinking for 9 hours. He was accumulating alcohol all that time.

Every second? How do you know? I had a neighbor who would drink beers from midday to evening. He maybe drank four cans in that time.

Following his extended session he's had a road accident and the subsequent breathalyser indicates he's over the limit.

That is what the test indicates. Does not mean the test is accurate. They are notoriously inaccurate in fact.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Remember that breathalyzer tests aren't reliable. Blood alcohol is dependent on your weight and height. However, you need to remain calm when pulled over and stay in your vehicle. Perform all other tests the police officer asks you to do, like the walking a straight line and the finger-to-nose test. Refuse the test when asked by simply saying no.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

typical Japanese cop behavior. This country's law enforcement is in the toilet.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

.63 mg/l breathalyzer is roughly indicative of 0.06 percent BAC (just divide by ten - not precise, but close enough). The inspector wasn't driving "drunk", he had the BAC of an average person who had downed a glass and a half of wine. At most, mildly buzzed rather than sloshed.

This, though, should indicate the perils of heavy drinking the night before - under the current zero tolerance laws, driving the day after a big night can still see you losing your license and possibly facing a stay behind bars. A regular from my neighbourhood pub was taken in for precisely the same thing - driving the morning after - and ended up with a three month prison sentence.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

thesedreams "That is what the test indicates. Does not mean the test is accurate. They are notoriously inaccurate in fact."

Well, that depends upon the machine. If the breathalyser indicates positive though it gives the Police grounds to arrest the driver and follow up with a blood test at the station. The blood tests are what's used as evidence in court.

My point was that the guy admitted to drinking for nine hours, the following morning he crashed his car into the back of a stationary vehicle and then failed a breathalyser test. Good grounds for suspicion and further investigation. If the blood test had taken place as it should have, then you'd have your proof one way or the other. This situation though has let the copper off lightly as it appears no blood test was done. Had a blood test taken place and the drivers blood alcohol level was found to be below the limit, I expect the Police would have made that fact clear in their statement.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

sfjp330, refusing a breath test in Japan is likely to get you arrested and tested at the station.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well, that depends upon the machine.

No it doesn't. None of them are accurate. And Japanese ones are even less accurate as per my own experience and the experience of a poster above. I got into a serious argument with police over a breathalyzer in fact and they accused me of drinking more than double what I drank. Unlike a Japanese, I did not take it. I absolutely refused to give up or sign anything. I shamed them with the truth. And they relented, KNOWING I was telling the truth and KNOWING they were running a sham.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

valued_customer, frankly I've never been breath tested so never had to talk my way out of trouble. There are accurate and calibrated machines available and in use with Japans police forces these form the basic evidence for prosecutions. I place more weight on testing and legal rigour than your sweeping statement. Maybe the police you came across were scamming you, or more likely simply incompetent?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

There are accurate and calibrated machines available

No there aren't. They don't exist. Its almost a complete fraud. Every human being metabolises differently and you cannot get an accurate reading of blood alcohol from the breath except under laboratory conditions with known subjects. A cop on the road using a breathalyzer on random person X, at the random temperature of the day, random person X having consumed random amounts of alcohol, breath mints, vinegar, or what have you, WILL MOST CERTAINLY NOT give you an accurate reading. Its a sham. That is why in other countries they give you a choice of test.

And no, in Japan, they do not do blood tests. Nor do they do urine tests or walk tests. I demanded a different test and they said there is none. They don't care about fairness here. They care about keeping you down.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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