crime

Foreign student/cosplayer arrested in Tokyo for having fake Self-Defense Forces ID

43 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Those deeply dedicated to the craft will tell you that true cosplay goes beyond just the costume. Sure, you have to have your clothes sorted, but what elevates a project from good to great is the little details, like props and accessories.

However, there are some pieces of paraphernalia that you really shouldn’t be duplicating, as demonstrated by an incident involving a 23-year-old foreign student living in Tokyo’s Taito Ward. In October, Oh Shicho, a Chinese national enrolled in a Japanese language school, was stopped by police officers on the street in Setagaya Ward and asked to produce identification (something foreigners can be asked to do at random in Japan). During the exchange, the officers noticed that Oh was in possession of a realistic replica of a Japan Self-Defense Forces ID card, bearing the bilingual Japanese/English guarantee that “This is to certify that the above-mentioned personnel is a member of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Forces.”

The card bore an actual photo of Oh with a fictitious name, but paired with a fictitious name, and listed an expiration date of July 15, Reiwa Year 5, corresponding to 2024 and thus claiming to be currently valid. In addition, Oh was found to be in possession of a second fake Self-Defense Force ID, with its printed expiration date having already passed.

However, Oh denies having been plotting any sort of espionage or subterfuge. Instead, he says he procured the cards for cosplay purposes. “I have it for when I dress up as a Japanese Self-Defense Forces member when playing survival games,” he told the police (“survival games” being the term used in Japan for pseudo-military games like paintball and airsoft). “I had a Chinese person I know from an online chat group make it for me, but I had no intention of actually impersonating a JSDF member.” Oh’s statement also included an admission that he had paid approximately 2,000 yen for the non-expired fake ID.

Sure enough, a Twitter account matching the rendering of Oh’s name, and with a profile describing the owner as a Chinese national studying in Japan who loves survival games, is filled with military cosplay photos.

Innocent intentions or not, the Japanese legal system doesn’t take kindly to people walking around with self-made documents that grant access to sensitive areas and strategic targets, and they saw Oh’s fake IDs less as “props” and more as “forgeries.” Oh has since been placed under arrest on charges of counterfeiting of official documents, and investigators are looking into whether or not either of his IDs were used to illegally enter JSDF facilities. No such incidents have been found so far, so he might still manage to avoid jail time, but it’d probably be a good idea for him to bend a little on his apparent commitment to authenticity in cosplay extending to his forms of identification from now on.

Sources: NHK News Web via Hachima Kiko, Yomiuri Shimbun, YouTube/ANNnewsCH

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Japan Self-Defense Forces get a fan club, for some reason

-- Self-Defense Force member arrested for carrying two screwdrivers

-- Getting stopped by the police in Japan – how often does it happen (and why?)

© SoraNews24

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

43 Comments
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If this is the first time that the cops or the SDF has found out about people forging their ID's, they REALLY have been keeping their heads in the sand!

5 ( +12 / -7 )

Forget the cospolay nonsense. Treat this guy as a foreign spy, If anyone did this carrying a fake PLA ID Card in China, what would happen?

14 ( +27 / -13 )

@OssanAmerica

Are you suggesting we should behave like China and imprison the guy without even investigating first?

I can think of a few problems with that kind of logic.

1 ( +16 / -15 )

Give him a hefty fine and release him.

No excuse for this kind of nonsense.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

To Forge ANY OFFICIAL Document considered a especially a Military ID is a Felony.

Nice try with the Cover Story...keep going with that when you get to trial.

12 ( +17 / -5 )

stopped by police officers on the street in Setagaya Ward and asked to produce identification (something foreigners can be asked to do at random in Japan).

this.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Stolen Valor , or a spy, or an idiot ? Either way this is not good, buying fake military ID on line could lead easily to the buyer using the ID for nefarious purposes and gaining access to sensitive areas.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

JPGBToday 08:51 am JST

@OssanAmerica

Are you suggesting we should behave like China and imprison the guy without even investigating first?

I can think of a few problems with that kind of logic.

Nobody said without investigating. Obviously since carrying a forged official government ID is a serious crime he must be investigated on the premise that he could by a spy. Next you'll be accusing me of suggesting that he be shot or sent to a re-education camp.

3 ( +13 / -10 )

Forget the cospolay nonsense. Treat this guy as a foreign spy, If anyone did this carrying a fake PLA ID Card in China, what would happen?

Spot on.

It is highly likely Oh was attempting to conduct surveillance on secret military installations in Japan, on behalf of Communist China. The "cosplay" was probably just a cover. I can see a very long jail time coming up.

4 ( +14 / -10 )

Because bases are joint base use in some areas with US Forces it would be a grave concern if he did access one these bases. Unlike the US Forces ID that use an ID system to enter a facility, on numerous occasions the JSDF forces are not scanned upon entry making it easy for such entry. It has been brought up by US Force security personnel of this vulnerability but nothing really has changed to make it a case of interest so "come on in" ...

10 ( +12 / -2 )

It is highly likely Oh was attempting to conduct surveillance on secret military installations in Japan, on behalf of Communist China.

It's also highly likely that he has a ball pen that can blow up ten helicopters and a watch that shoots lasers.

-2 ( +9 / -11 )

This ID is so obviously fake -- different fonts right next to each other; typos such as missing spaces between words -- that if our suspect was really planning to do some spying, he should get his money back from whoever made it.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

What is bothering me most, is that someone was able to forge a realistic Japanese Self-Defense Forces ID for 2000yen...

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Nobody said without investigating. Obviously since carrying a forged official government ID is a serious crime he must be investigated on the premise that he could by a spy. Next you'll be accusing me of suggesting that he be shot or sent to a re-education camp.

You litterally said in your post "treat this guy as a spy". Not "investigate to see if he is a spy. "

0 ( +8 / -8 )

I take it as a lesson learnt then.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What is bothering me most, is that someone was able to forge a realistic Japanese Self-Defense Forces ID for 2000yen...

In Japanese news its stated even less than that, it cost only 1800 yen.

Too bad cosplayer always try to imitate things without aware legal limit what they can imitate. Since he has legal problem with that card, he'll just have to miss whole semester of his school, since they detain him from October. Months of detention with everyday interrogation just like they did to Ghosn, to check whether he has used that card for other than cosplay.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The only problem here is that someone was detained without a reason, because foreigner, and when this person provided an ID as the law requires, the police not pleased started to look for anything else to arrest this guy for.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

The only problem here is that someone was detained without a reason, because foreigner, and when this person provided an ID as the law requires, the police not pleased started to look for anything else to arrest this guy for.

No, that's not the only problem. Another problem is that this guy was providing fake ID, something clearly illegal.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

sounds like a whacko to me

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

the officers noticed that Oh was in possession of a realistic replica of a Japan Self-Defense Forces ID card

@Strangerland, it sounds from the story like Mr. Oh presented the correct form of ID (an alien/resident card, I imagine) and that the cops just happened to notice this card while questioning him. He wouldn't have been "providing fake ID" in that case, particularly if he never claimed that it was anything more than a cosplay prop.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

it sounds from the story like Mr. Oh presented the correct form of ID (an alien/resident card, I imagine) and that the cops just happened to notice this card while questioning him. He wouldn't have been "providing fake ID" in that case, particularly if he never claimed that it was anything more than a cosplay prop.

I don't think the law makes a distinction between intent of use, when someone is holding a forged ID.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

 Another problem is that this guy was providing fake ID

I'm not too sure if he was providing fake ID or if the cops just noticed it in his wallet it whilst he was providing some authentic ID. Is it illegal to possess fake ID or just illegal to attempt to use it? I presume both, but am not sure.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

No, that's not the only problem. Another problem is that this guy was providing fake ID, something clearly illegal.

Read what the article and the Ann piece says. He didn't provided the fake ID, the police "became aware of it", which means they probably searched his wallet or something like that.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

stopped by police officers on the street in Setagaya Ward and asked to produce identification (something foreigners can be asked to do at random in Japan). 

As can locals. Doesn't seem to happen much, though.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

@OssanAmerica

"Treat this guy as a foreign spy, If anyone did this carrying a fake PLA ID Card in China, what would happen?"

Sorry, I must have misunderstood you. So, you were saying that we should treat him as a foreign spy for the time being, like they would in China, and then proceed to an investigation.

Aaaanyway.

Maybe you could clarify what your comment about how China would handle the situation was meant to suggest. And while you're at it, what does that have to do with how things are and should be handled in Japan?

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

SoraNews24 buries the lede yet again... Plus, if a cop could spot the fact that the ID was fake and in the possession of a non-citizen, do you really think that it could be used to access a restricted area? And the quote "something foreigners can be asked to do at random in Japan" is untrue. Police "can" ask for ID in the form of a passport or a reisdence permit in the event they have a well founded suspicion of criminal activity, but you are under no compunction to provide ID in the absence of a reasonable explanation as to why.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

"can" ask for ID in the form of a passport or a reisdence permit in the event they have a well founded suspicion of criminal activity, but you are under no compunction to provide ID in the absence of a reasonable explanation as to why.

That's right usually they just don't have legitimate reason to stop foreigner. If they are being asked the reason, usually they just made it up which you can tell right away.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If Oh's story is legit, he will have friends and acquaintances who will be able to vouch for him. In that case, fine him and let him go. Things get murkier if they can't or won't, and then there's the actual forger to consider as well.

Police "can" ask for ID in the form of a passport or a reisdence permit in the event they have a well founded suspicion of criminal activity, but you are under no compunction to provide ID in the absence of a reasonable explanation as to why.

Good luck with that.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

He’s a Spy, until proven otherwise...good SOP, considering the territory.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

As can locals. Doesn't seem to happen much, though.

Because they are not required by law to carry ID at all times. In theory, a foreigner in pajamas walking to the end of their street in a surburban neighborhood to take out the trash can be arrested if they don't have ID on them.

The same is not true for a Japanese citizen.

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

I was accosted by a Good Cop / Bad Cop pair, while asking directions in Shinjuku.

The good guy gave me the directions and away I went...bad cop came after me, asked me for ID, and “ RAN ME IN” until the friend I was staying with brought my Passport to the coppers...all this for asking directions....it was COLD that day.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Numan,

Because (Japanese locals) are not required by law to carry ID at all times.

Doesn't mean they can't be stopped and asked to produce it though.

https://japantoday.com/category/features/kuchikomi/police-shakedowns-increasing-in-run-up-to-tokyo-olympics

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Plus, if a cop could spot the fact that the ID was fake and in the possession of a non-citizen, 

I bet the fire alarm in the brain of the cop went off just seeing that.

do you really think that it could be used to access a restricted area?

You need not enter a restricted area to spy, you can use the card to get information from people working at such places.

but you are under no compunction to provide ID in the absence of a reasonable explanation as to why.

In theory you are correct but I suggest you try that the next time a cop stops you, doing that itself will make you suspicious. I remember reading about Debito trying to argue and finally had to give up.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Forget the cospolay nonsense. Treat this guy as a foreign spy, If anyone did this carrying a fake PLA ID Card in China, what would happen?

Why lower Japan’s standards?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

He was not very smart, was he?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hey if all he was doing was being silly then its actually kind of a source of pride and nice that we aren’t like some places and jail people cruelly.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

It should be pretty easy to tell if he is a cosplay otaku or a serious spy simply by seeing if the ID was ever used. I think there is actually a pretty good chance he's a true otaku. He didn't try to use the ID. The police just saw it. A good spy would try to be be more careful.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If he's really just an otaku cosplayer, he should have gone ALMOST perfect with the ID. Include enough to look cool, but obvious a fake upon close inspection. Let's be real, checking out someone's ID as a part of their costume is sooo minor!

This is one case I agree that the suspect needs to be locked up until they can verify his identity, and then perhaps even deport him anyway.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Who sells such IDs Legally ?

Not surprised that it was a Chinese person - they normally go after the usual Residents Card forgery, I guess the supplier had run out, and all that was left was the dubious Military ID - which clearly forced the young man to dress up as a JSDF Personnel...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Police "can" ask for ID in the form of a passport or a reisdence permit in the event they have a well founded suspicion of criminal activity, but you are under no compunction to provide ID in the absence of a reasonable explanation as to why.

Actually, you ARE OBLIGATED to provide ID when a police officer asks you. And they don't need suspicion of criminal activity to ask for it in Japan. It's literally in the law.

Article 13 (2) of the Alien Registration Act states:

The alien shall present his/her registration certificate to the immigration inspector, immigration control officer (meaning the immigration control officer provided for in the Immigration Control Act), police official, maritime safety official or any other official of a state or local public entity prescribed by the Ministry of Justice Ordinance, if such official requests the presentation of the registration certificate in the performance of his/her duties.

http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?ft=1&re=2&dn=1&x=0&y=0&co=01&ia=03&ja=04&ky=residence+card&page=3

In performance of his/her duties

This means that 職質 (shokushitsu = questioning) which a police official is allowed to due to anyone at anytime with or without reasonable cause, is part of his/her duties.

So yes, you DO need to present your ID when asked by a police officer. Whether or not they have any suspicion you did anything or else you risk being detained for violation of the Alien Registration and/or Immigration Control Act.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Exactly right KSteer, I knew that (lived in Japan off and on for 20+ years), however NO COP ever actually DID this...as I said before, it was COLD outside.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Outside of Japan, it's actually very popular to wear JGSDF uniforms for airsoft and survival games. I know for sure that kids in Taiwan love them, apparently in China too. I've got a large collection of SDF uniforms and gear myself, but I'm just a collector. I play the occasional airsoft game wearing them once or twice a year, but I'm for sure not stupid enough to have a fake ID, let alone carry it on me.

This is just a case of a dumb kid doing something stupid and not realizing it. Hopefully he gets a slap on the wrist, maybe a find and never does it again.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Correction: 'a fine'

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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