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Japanese consulting police more than ever on non-urgent matters

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Seems like a no-brainer to set up a telephone line for non-urgent problems and run a publicity campaign on when to use it, like they have done in a number of countries including Japan for health problems. People should also be encouraged to give their koban a visit to report non-urgent problems, giving the many underemployed police something to do.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Just a thought: they could cut into a lot of the noise complaints if police could actually stop all those bozo kids and their engine revving.

They hit my neighborhood several times a night which I'm sure generates dozens of calls each time.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

If you cannot talk to your neighbour over simple matter that indicate a problem with society, it also indicate there is no community left.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I had a visit from the police on Sunday afternoon because I put my kitchen garbage out on Sunday morning, but it doesn't get picked up until Monday (24 hours early).

Why can't you just take your garbage bags out at the correct collection times. Putting them out early causes problem with cats, feral pigs, crows? It's not like the bags are placed in containers.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I would not say that fraud and domestic violence are not urgent matters.

I would say its a pretty safe society with fewer murders and assaults so embezzlement and corruption become the main crimes.

I certainly hope the police do not take child abuse and domestic violence lightly but given the face that prison terms for these crimes are from zero to light I am afraid they are not taken too seriously.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Thanks Zichi! I also hope someone who laughs when the police come to their door understands that rats and other pests come where garbage is left out too early, and quickly develop habits of sticking around where the living is easy. Thankfully, older neighbors keep an eye out for not only this problem, but others, like fire risks and vandalism, which collectively keep us all safer and healthier. Having a number to call for less urgent but potentially serious issues in the area is a good way to keep the peace, especially in highly populated neighborhoods.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

“Knock, knock........ yeah, morning . Would you mind turning the noise down a bit mate, it’s early and I’m trying to sleep cause I work nights. Cheers very much.”

The japan version. Where any form of direct conflict or difficult conversations must be avoided at all cost. Run straight to the system for protection from any perceived personal affront, no matter how silly or trivial. Call the cops.

Deal with things yourself. Don’t be a 12 year old.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

I can only comment on Miyazaki as I live here. You call an emergency number and it turns out to be trivial then you get the honor of paying 30,000 yen. I had a situation where a neighbor called the police because my wife, kids, and I were grilling fish and our 80 yo neighbor boy-child called the police because he didn't like the smoke. Two days later he brings the bill from the Miyazaki Prefecture office and demands we pay it because "It was your grill that caused the problem". Needless to say his face saw my door.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Once or twice a year we get a visit from the local Kōban, asking how we are, and if there are any problems in the neighborhood. I remind them there are many elderly single people in the area so watch out for them.

A couple of months ago there was a young woman and young man on our little street late at night. I didn't know them so I asked who they were and what they were doing so late. They said they were police investigating damage to a bicycle belonging to a neighbor.

They were in plain clothes. I asked them to produce their ID's otherwise I would have to phone the Kōban, which they showed me.

Guess they were send out on training at midnight.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Cucashopboy:

"Seems like a no-brainer to set up a telephone line for non-urgent problems"

far far to logical mate.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

So, evidently 20% of calls were for "non-urgent" matters.

Right...

So, I assume that includes the "noise, etc." group (11.6%) and the "graffiti, etc" group (6.2%).

Which totals 17.8%.

Was that rounded up to 20%?

Please tell me that domestic violence (3.4%) was NOT included in the "non-urgent" matters total!! Because if it was, that is a major problem.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

A total of 261,936 cases, or 12.6 percent, involved consultations associated with possible criminal cases, including claims about suspicious calls that may have links to fraud, while 255,520 cases, or 12.3 percent, were from people wanting to stop spam calls and other public nuisances.

Good. Looks like the messages about the "ore ore" fraud are finally getting through.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think the police need to tackle the problem with a variety of solutions mentioned on here: Make a non-emergency line (or Koban) phone list with problems they are best to deal with an hand them out to the communities. There should also be fines for frivolous calls, or repeat calls that police are not meant to deal with. Also, the police need to be trained in how to talk sense into the public (although that is a tricky one) so that people like the  fish smoke man baby and garbage laugher above will understand why the police can or cannot assist them and what the issue truly is.

By the way, bugs love garbage and nasty, burnable garbage left out for a day, even in the locked containers, gets stinky and attracts all sorts of pests big and small. It is also illegal in a lot of places to put it out a day before pick up and you are lucky you didn't get a fine.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I had a visit from the police on Sunday afternoon because I put my kitchen garbage out on Sunday morning, but it doesn't get picked up until Monday (24 hours early).

Then you deserved that visit. And if you keep doing that, you deserve the fine that is coming your way.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

sakurasuki

Thank you for your support mate. And the excellent links. I always make sure to read links connected to posts that address me.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Aly

a couple of years ago, the police from the local Kōban told me I had a sharp eye and brain and asked if I "keep an eye on our community" first I was shocked, since I'm a foreigner, and no one really likes to be a snitch. My wife couldn't stop laughing that the police had asked a foreigner to spy on the Japanese. After a couple of years, when I had only reported one case, I asked when I would be receiving my honorary badge?

The case I did report was I went out with the early morning garbage, I found a large pool of fresh blood. Enough to be concerned so I phoned the Kōban. In the end it turned out to be a local salaryman returning late home drunk and crashed his head into the ground. The police also cleaned up the blood.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@Aly that might be true, there plenty stories about foreigner being checked over and over again, well in some occasion even by the same officer near where their work or live.

One of reason is pretty obvious as reported in here:

https://www.economist.com/asia/2017/05/18/as-crime-dries-up-japans-police-hunt-for-things-to-do

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2017/01/22/our-lives/meet-man-gets-frisked-tokyo-police-five-times-year

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Ed Woodlake

Thanks Zichi! I also hope someone who laughs when the police come to their door understands that rats and other pests come where garbage is left out too early, 

When we lived in Nagano City some restaurants put out their garbage at the back of their buildings which attracted black rats the size of cats.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When we lived in Nagano City some restaurants put out their garbage at the back of their buildings which attracted black rats the size of cats.

Bunch crows alone can really make garbages that already inside wrap to become a total mess, within few hours before garbage truck show up.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I also hope someone who laughs when the police come to their door understands that rats and other pests come where garbage is left out too early, and quickly develop habits of sticking around where the living is easy.

In many areas, the waste is placed in personal plastic bins. Rodents and other animals cannot get into them. I sometimes put my waste out the night before, with no consequence and no complaints. If it were some giant net like you see in apartment complexes, it would be a different story.

I certainly think that many neighbors in Japan would do better to keep their nose out of other peoples' business. Some monster-neighbors relish the chance to passive-aggressively attack someone over some trivial things that do not affect them whatsoever. Fact of life here. End result - people constantly live in fear of trivial things and cannot enjoy themselves even at their own homes. It's not healthy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@educator

Its a simple matter to google the phone numbers of the local police station and koban police boxes. Also to be found in phone books (if you don’t have one at home, look for them at public phone boxes, at the library, etc), on numerous printed pamphlets and notices distributed to the public, on the card left by the police officer who annually makes the rounds checking on the details of local residents, etc.

@yubaru

You can find the NON emergency numbers listed on your prefectural police web site, the number varies so it's not wise to post just one!

Yeah so that is problem. People will be too lazy to search for a phone number online or go to the bloody library thus increasing the chance for them to use the easier to remember 3 digit numbers.

Also I assume many people don't know what constitutes an emergency or not. Perhaps a rat in their kitchen constitutes as an emergency for some people and thus dial the 119 or 110 numbers.

They should make a new simpler phone number that elderly can also remember and im sure they could cut the phone problems in half.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Yubaru

Is there a specific mountain rescue number?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Once or twice a year we get a visit from the local Kōban, asking how we are, and if there are any problems in the neighborhood. I remind them there are many elderly single people in the area so watch out for them.

A couple of months ago there was a young woman and young man on our little street late at night. I didn't know them so I asked who they were and what they were doing so late. They said they were police investigating damage to a bicycle belonging to a neighbor. 

They were in plain clothes. I asked them to produce their ID's otherwise I would have to phone the Kōban, which they showed me.

Guess they were send out on training at midnight.

Interesting you say that. A couple of days ago we had a knock on the door from the police as well. There was a car that was parked in one of the parking lots and they did not recognize it so they were going around the building asking the residents if they knew who’s car it was. They were friendly and I had a little bit of a chat with the younger copper who was very nice. He told me that right now because of the recent stabbings and the little girl that was killed and left on the railroad tracks in Niigata, They’re constantly patrolling around the elementary schools. I thought that was good use of my taxes

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Ageing Japan.... just like ageing societies everywhere, in general they are less tolerant of noise or anything that takes them out of their daily routine.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

“Consultations over domestic violence grew about 2.8 times to 71,579 cases, or 3.4 percent”

Of course. Making the call will be part of evidence in court. If there has been no adultery, the next best claim is domestic violence. The increase in calls to police is partly due to suggestions from divorce lawyers.

if a woman takes her kids and has a couple of phone calls to police even “discussing” domestic violence or the “fear” that it will happen, the father can kiss goodbye to seeing his kids for years.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

What IS the actual phone number for non-urgent matters? As far as I know it's not written anywhere clearly.

119 = emergency

110 = also an emergency number.

So what other number can we dial?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I had a visit from the police on Sunday afternoon because I put my kitchen garbage out on Sunday morning, but it doesn't get picked up until Monday (24 hours early). I'm a criminal! One of the local old idiots went through my garbage to find an envelope with a name on it and called the cops. I just laughed at the cop when he told me why he was there and responded with a big "dakara nanda!" (So what!). However, he saw fit to give me a 20 minute lecture on the etiquette of neighborhood garbage disposal, which made me laugh even more.

I don't think the problem is so many useless calls to police. The problem is police actually responding to them and patronising these old idiots!

2 ( +12 / -10 )

What IS the actual phone number for non-urgent matters? As far as I know it's not written anywhere clearly.

119 = emergency

110 = also an emergency number.

So what other number can we dial?

First off, THE emergency number for police here in Japan is 110, it is not just "also and emergency number" I hope folks keep that straight!

110 Emergency call to police

Call 110 to report an accident or crime to the police call center.

118 Emergency call to coast guard

Call 118 to report an accident or crime at sea to the Japan Coast Guard.

119 Fire, ambulance, emergency rescue

Call 119 to report a fire or to ask for an ambulance or rescue service or to contact an emergency call center (a fire station).

Emergency telephone numbers can be called from home phones, mobile phones and public phones. When making an emergency call from a public phone, neither money nor a pre-paid telephone card are necessary. When making an emergency call from a public phone that has a liquid crystal panel as its display, just pick up the handset and dial the required number. When making an emergency call from a public phone that has a kinkyu tsuho button (an emergency notification button) on the front of the unit, make sure to press it and then dial the required number.

You can find the NON emergency numbers listed on your prefectural police web site, the number varies so it's not wise to post just one!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Have they never heard of hotlines? I mean, hotlines that operate outside of business hours? Half of the elderly or more that call are just lonely and/or want some attention.

That said, I question what they call "non-urgent". Noise from neighbours can be a big problem, and just because some people still believe that others SHOULD follow the "wa" of the neighbourhood doesn't mean they do. I once had a crazy neighbour who would crank his electric guitar and play it at three am, keeping ALL the neighbours up. They would gather in groups and complain, but no one would actually do anything. I tried to approach him to just talk and he ran away -- a pasty, lanky hikkikomori type. And the next day my door had been kicked and my bicycle vandalised. I told the land-lady I was going to call the police and her suggestion? "Well, we can move you to another apartment in the building for free," to which she kind of shrugged and said "shouganai" when I said, "and go to City Hall, the post office, banks, and change my address, then have cable cancelled and make new contracts?", etc. Fortunately he moved a few months later, at which time I heard the owner of the building come look at the tenant's room, shout about the state of it (apparently there as garbage for months, holes in the walls, the bathroom hadn't been cleaned in ages, etc.), and they could not rent it out again.

The moral of the story, had the police actually been called and come to the place, they could have talked to and maybe warned him, and since he was clearly a crackpot could have gotten him help. The neighbourhood and the building would have been better for it. But nope... I was told that if I call the police they will not come for such complaints.

If they are not busy, I don't see what the problem is in calling to complain about noise, or some other things, especially given the police are renowned for doing nothing until there's a body, aside from swarming a person on a bicycle to see if it's stolen.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ageing Japan.... just like ageing societies everywhere, in general they are less tolerant of noise or anything that takes them out of their daily routine.

And not a few lonely oldsters looking for a sympathetic ear, I'd wager. This happens at my supermarket as well. I don't begrudge it there, but it's a menace when it comes to hospitals and police.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

One of the local old idiots went through my garbage to find an envelope with a name on it and called the cops

@Disillusioned

I believe that nosing through other people's mail is perhaps a more serious crime (even in Japan) than putting out your garbage a day early. Perhaps you can press charges against your busybody neighbor (not that I think that would actually go anywhere)?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yeah definitely a sign of aging japan. Or middle aged people who have been wrapped in cotton their whole life and can't accept a slight inconvenience. An elderly neighbor of mine once called the cops because her tv didn't work.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Police have been dealing with social problems for years. Nothing to do with the age of the caller, despite what many posters say here, calls come from all ages.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Recently, my neighbors children are excessively noisy and their dogs are, too. And I'm at a loss about what to do. It's hard to say something cause you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings and you don't want a feud to start. So I've been tempted to call the police as well. One word from them that some people in the neighborhood have been complaining could handle it. I could also approach the elementary school as teachers often handle these things. Or I could ask my wife to bring it up the weekly community meeting. It's just hard and you often wonder why are they not aware at how noisy they are.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

maxjapank - I sympathise. Part of the problem is the almost complete absence of conflict resolution skills in Japan, which means that it is difficult to approach a neighbour and politely ask them to be quieter without the fear that it will be taken the wrong way and escalate into a feud.

Don't approach the elementary school - the teachers are already overloaded with dozens of other tasks that are unrelated to teaching and it's not fair on them.

Some kind of indirect approach may work. I sometimes have to supervise the children's walk to school (I have two children of elementary school age), and they can be a bit noisy at the place where they assemble. An elderly neighbour poked her head out of the window and just looked sorrowful. I went up, politely asked if there was a problem, got some kind of indirect answer with some chottos thrown in, I apologised, the Japanese mums turned up for reinforcements and further apologies, we moved the children further down the road, and the problem was solved. Try to keep your eyes open for similar opportunities rather than go for a direct confrontation.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A couple of months ago there was a young woman and young man on our little street late at night. I didn't know them so I asked who they were and what they were doing so late. They said they were police investigating damage to a bicycle belonging to a neighbor.

They were in plain clothes. I asked them to produce their ID's otherwise I would have to phone the Kōban, which they showed me.

Impersonating police is a crime, but hopefully it's not a crime just to be out late at night, unless they're acting suspiciously (e.g. looking like they're casing a house)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I fail to see the problem - the police have very few urgent matters that need their attention to begin with. And why are there so many of them, in a country that promotes itself as crime-free?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

PaigiulioToday  09:04 am JST

“What IS the actual phone number for non-urgent matters? As far as I know it's not written anywhere clearly”

Its a simple matter to google the phone numbers of the local police station and koban police boxes. Also to be found in phone books (if you don’t have one at home, look for them at public phone boxes, at the library, etc), on numerous printed pamphlets and notices distributed to the public, on the card left by the police officer who annually makes the rounds checking on the details of local residents, etc.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Welcome to my world! When the police are called in because a burger joint didn't make your order correctly, let me know, okay? At least the person writing the article did a little research on the subject and decided that community participation is the underlying problem unlike most lazy, sensationalist headline grabbing MSM reporters in my part of the world do.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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