crime

Liquor store intruder slashes 5 cops in Okinawa

59 Comments

A 45-year-old man was arrested for breaking and entering, interfering with police in the line of duty and assault on Monday morning, after he forced his way into a liquor store in Ginowan City before attacking police officers who responded to the store’s security alarm.

Police said that they were alerted to the illegal entry just before 4 a.m. Eight officers arrived at the scene about five minutes later. The suspect, identified as Atsushi Uehara, 45, dashed out of the store, only to be surrounded by the officers. He began to threaten the officers with two knives he was carrying and inflicted minor injuries on five of them, leaving cuts on their arms, faces and necks, before being arrested.

Uehara was also carrying a flashlight and a pair of gloves, and told police he entered the store to drink alcohol, but no items were missing or opened in the store. He did test positive to an alcohol breath test after his arrest though.

The store owner was quoted as saying: “Thanks to the quick response of the police, no money or goods were stolen. I had heard there had been a few break-ins recently, and so had the police help install an alarm about two weeks ago. Looks like it came in pretty handy.”

© News reports

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59 Comments
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And nobody thought to shoot him?

Maybe the cops should just leave their weapons at home if they don't intend to use them. And before anyone mentions it, I am talking here about "shooting him in the leg".

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what good would that do?

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All that trouble just for "liquid refreshments".....

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It's not like the movies where you can shoot a moving target in low light in a densely populated area in just the spot you want and have no collateral damage. Looks like those officers earned their pay Monday morning!

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This guy must have been swinging like crazy. How about pulling out that baton i see the police with on their hips and beating him. I thought the cops did weapon training!! Was this just a 2 hour course or something?? But not knowing the full details maybe they did do something they learnt and that is why they only got slashed and not worse.

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H2H training would be good. 5 dudes should be able to get him under control with a bit of pepper spray and a big stick.

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After the first officer received his wounds though you think the other ones would respond with a baton or something. Or did they run away like the guy who was chased with a bat from the drugged up dude with a small bat? Afraid of their own shadow. No wonder we don't respect Japanese Cops. Bullies to the weak but pussies in front of a confrontation.

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NY cops call this "Stick Time". (Nightstick/Baton). I imagine the perp went nuts faster than the cops could react with batons.

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Holy cow! A crime committed in Okinawa and it's not a US servicemember. That's got to be a first. Of course there will probably soon be a follow up to this story and we'll learn that this guy's second cousin once dated someone who lived next door to a former base employee so it's a 'base-related crime after all...

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Why didn't they just "Taze him Bro'" or do the cops here in Japan not carry tazers. I would recommend that for their next training video, they should all sit down and watch an episode of COPS on FoxJapan.

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Nice to see that the Japan police are not trigger happy.

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Nice to see that the Japan police are not trigger happy.

Maybe if they were there would be less of this kind of crime. The cops in Japan don't carry tazers. They should trade in their suicide pistols for tazers.

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Well, this is a kind of turned-around logic, considering the number of shooting sprees that occur in Japan is dramatically lower than the number of shooting sprees that occur in countries where the police are, say, more trigger-happy than their Japanese coutnerparts.

Personally, I'm glad the cops don't resort to gunning someone down at the slightest provocation. The idiot in the above story had two knives. The police had training and numbers. There's no practical reason for shooting the drunken fool, even "in the leg."

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And nobody thought to shoot him? Maybe the cops should just leave their weapons at home if they don't intend to use them. And before anyone mentions it, I am talking here about "shooting him in the leg".

Oh... but that's what I use to say... But you have to remember, they are not real cops... they are JCops...

JCops do things and don't do things the way Real, Law Enforcement agencies around the world do them...

For instance, no police force in the world uses warning shots, except maybe the Philippines, or one of those third-world, anything goes countries... And especially not in front of Roppongi-Hills with hundreds of people streaming by...

I'm not even going to mention a year ago when that wacko went on a stabbing spree in Akihabara... I guarantee you... Had that first JCop actually knew what to do, when he received a NON-Life-Threatening stab wound, he should have immediately shot that wacko... He didn't necessarily need to kill him, but he could have saved at least 4 or 5 lives... But he didn't do anything... You don't attend to injured when there is crazy fxxx running around stabbing people and you are a cop with a gun... It defies logic and common-sense...

Either he was a coward OR He didn't have the proper training... I think it's the training... They train these guys to harass salary-men and obasan's riding bicycles...

More ridiculous crap... But should you expect any better... Unfortunately, I doubt it, at least until more real crime happens and these bozo's are forced to learn real policing the hard way...

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LFRAgain you seem to think a criminal knifing a cop is a small matter. Any one of those knife blows could have been deadly! Police would have been within their rights (and common sense) to use their weapons. I still don't see how 1 guy slashed 5 police? That is stupid.

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Mookoo, this didn't happen in Tokyo....it happened in Okinawa. And if I'm a cop, amd I see soemone slashing a buddy with a knofe, trust me, the perp is going to get a bullet somewhere so he'll remember it. But, as mindovermater stated, these aren't real cops....more like Keystone Cops...

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“Thanks to the quick response of the police, no money or goods were stolen. I had heard there had been a few break-ins recently, and so had the police help install an alarm about two weeks ago. Looks like it came in pretty handy.”

The cops in Okinawa are elite. Of course they would have to be when arresting US service personal.

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Mookoo, this didn't happen in Tokyo....it happened in Okinawa. And if I'm a cop, amd I see soemone slashing a buddy with a knofe, trust me, the perp is going to get a bullet somewhere so he'll remember it. But, as mindovermater stated, these aren't real cops....more like Keystone Cops...

Yes, Okinawa is quite crowded, too. No need to be firing guns. Yeah, good idea, shoot while the target and your buddies are in constant motion. That'll help! The cops should have perhaps had their batons at the ready, but were good enough to prevent the larger tragedy of losing one of their own or killing the suspect. Kudos.

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This is ridiculous. Jcops are just... sad. Not saying they should have shot him, but if one stayed back and pulled his gun when they realized he was dangerous, then maybe the guy wouldn't have tried stabbing the others.

Just like in Akiba, play with the baton before you pull the gun. Cept in that case people were dying in the meantime.

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LA cops would be heard to say "FREEZE or I'll shoot AGAIN!" Of course with some of the cops I've seen here at the age of 45 he was probably older than all of them put together!

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Lordomni:

Yes he could have pulled his gun, but it still would have taken time to get the bullit out of his shirt pocket and load the gun.

So, it's better to run or stand there with a dumb look.

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They should have shot the guy, and I don't mean to wound. You give them a warning, you ask them to put down their weapon, and you drill them if they don't comply. Based on (military) experience, I can live with that. The local cops should also be able to do so.

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And if I'm a cop, amd I see soemone slashing a buddy with a knofe, trust me, the perp is going to get a bullet somewhere so he'll remember it.

You wouldn't make it to Police Academy in Japan with that attitude. Thankfully.

Had that first JCop actually knew what to do, when he received a NON-Life-Threatening stab wound, he should have immediately shot that wacko... He didn't necessarily need to kill him, but he could have saved at least 4 or 5 lives...

'That first JCop' was a traffic cop - they are unarmed. Even if he had had a gun, firing at a moving target on a crowded street is definitely not a good idea. There are photos on the Internet of the wounded police officer on the ground in a pool of blood, in no condition to sit upright, never mind take steady aim and fire.

The Akihabara incident was handled in text-book fashion, with only a few minutes elapsing from the time Kato ran the red light and ran his truck into the crowd on the crossroads, to the time he was brought down by the police. If you want to prove that JCops are 'bozos' then the Akihabara incident is not going to help your case.

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Based on (military) experience, I can live with that. The local cops should also be able to do so.

You think it's a good idea to have a military presence patrolling the streets? I don't. The police are not military, nor should they be.

Japanese police are drilled long and hard on what it means to pull a gun and point it at someone before they're ever allowed to handle one, never mind go outside armed. That's the way it should be, and I hope that never changes.

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Ratpack did have a good point...we don't know the full details. They probably only got a few slashes because they did manage to fight the guy and take him down. They probably "subdued" him with their nightsticks or other skills that trigger-happy cops don't bother utilizing (in situations where the perp doesn't have a firearm). Sure, a shot in the leg might be easy and the quicker way, but not exactly the brightest thing to do if your mates already have him surrounded.

I am definitely not against shooting a perp in the leg if it is warranted, but if it is a situation where there are 8 cops, one guy without a gun, chances and common sense are they are going to be able to take him without a shot. Keystone cops or not.

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cleo You think it's a good idea to have a military presence patrolling the streets? I don't. The police are not military, nor should they be.

You sound like you want to sound like you know what you are talking about... but just like your buddy "MooKoo" don't have a clue.

Do you actually know any JCops... Have you ever worked with them...? Seen them first hand in action...?

I think not.... I have, and they don't train for that kind of stuff... Matter of fact it wasn't until just a few years ago, that they actually started handing out REAL guns to JCops in Japan... You see they use to have only a limited number of REAL firearms mixed in with Dummy guns that they would circulate between the stations.... The cops themselves didn't even know if they had real guns or not... Now they are real though...

And with proper police training for one, you never allow yourself in the first place to be put in a situation where one guy can slash 5 cops... That's juts flat out PISS-POOR training!

And any REAL cop would have given that guy about 2 seconds to drop his weapon... You see, in REAL life it isn't like the movies, where you are going to pull some "Jackie Chan" crap and harmlessly and instantly disarm him and it all works out perfect... That's why, no REAL cop is going to give a wacko half a chance... They'll tell them once, maybe twice and that's it....

Maybe you and MooKoo have been watching too many Japanese police drama's...?

Obviously the JN Clown cops have too!

Maybe they should just take away all their guns... They certainly don't know how to use them... Except they sure know how to fire warning shots around kids and people in crowded tokyo areas...

Have a nice day!

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Do you actually know any JCops...

Yes. In the family.

they don't train for that kind of stuff...

For what kind of stuff? Shooting guns? My daughter has a commendation for marksmanship, she didn't get it by not training.... Acting like military? I should darn well hope not.

From your repeated references to what you call REAL cops, I think you're the one getting your ideas from second-rate dramas. In other countries where every clown and idiot has a gun, 'shoot first, read 'em their rights later' might be the way to go, but in Japan that kind of tacky macho is unnecessary and unwanted. Try comparing crime rates if you want to know which country's police force does a good job.

In this instance the police did OK. I'm glad their injuries were only minor, and I hope they get a bump in their next bonus for a job well done.

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I agree with Cleo and totally disagree with smithinjapan.

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Well there you go...the police are so concerned about the welfare of the suspect that they allow themselves to get hurt in the process.

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Glad to see none of the cops was seriously injured. I'm surprised that the perp wasn't shot. That's a great deal of self restraint on the part of the cops. Hope they lock that looser up for a long time.

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Wow, Cleo it seems you missed the point of my earlier post. With this nut case running around slashing police officers, I would have liked to see the cops end the situation (permanently). Enough of this kid gloves stuff, none of this shooting to wound (laugh). I would assume that the police ordered this chap to lay down his weapons, but he decided for a little sword play instead. The cops should have just drilled him seeing as he showed he was not adverse to wounding people (it was lucky none of the cops were killed). With regard to my reference to military experience, I was trying to point out that when push comes to shove, the cops (or anyone given a weapon as part of their job) has to be willing to use it. No recriminations and no regrets. Sitting in your living room looking at this from a passive perspective, it is easy to say that weapons should not be used. However, I don't believe that the fuzz should buy into such an argument if it is going to put them in danger (like the current case). It would have been better for all concerned if they had slotted this chap as soon as he made his intentions known.

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I'll bet Uehara was really pissed at seeing cops a mere 5 minutes after he broke in.

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Practice makes perfect it seems and after all the (past) Mil-Brat crimes these cops are getting fairly good.

Criminals are their own worst enemy with technology and the Fuzz against them. =Put up the security cameras and make people be responsible +it makes good TV.

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Probably an anti-attack pepper stray would work out fine in this case... or a well-targeted gunshoot, too... This man is a criminal and somehow we must get rid off these punks...

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Oh...the alcohol breath test was probably real interesting. I got pulled over once after a hard day of outdoor recreation. I don't drink, but I was pretty tired. Had eaten plenty of meat with lots of garlic, and a hefty amount of sashimi. The cop took his hat, and asked me to blow into it. You should have seen his eyes roll up when he got a good whiff of my breath...It was hilarious...

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If I know the J police, they will probably treat this scum bag with kid gloves (in public, and in front of the cameras) but somehow I feel they will teach him a good lesson when he is behind bars and on the cops own turf.

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In a civilized justice system, police officers are not judge, jury, or executioner. The first priority for these officers was to apprehend the suspect so he could stand trial for the crimes he's accused of. And they did. Japanese police use guns only in the most extreme of circumstances, and this didn't qualify. They did the right thing.

And I'm with Cleo: The Akihabara Incident isn't exactly the best example of J-Police incompentence. That was a textbook takedown in which the arresting officer showed extraordinary bravery and level-headedness in the face of a very dangerous situation.

Seriously, some folks here have watched a few too many American cop shows for a clear perspective of how police are and are not supposed to use their firearms.

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timorborder -

If you have cops going around shooting punks with knives because it's easier to 'drill' them, you're going to see the punks making sure they have the wherewithal to 'drill' a few cops and maybe passersby before they get taken down. As LFRAgain points out, the police are not judge, jury or executioner. I'm certainly not 'Sitting in my living room looking at this from a passive perspective'; I don't want petty criminals thinking my daughter is going to 'drill' them anyways so they may as well get the first shot in. Nor do I want her to have unnecessary blood on her hands.

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We can go back and forth on the issue of how the police should have handled the situation and never come to a consensus. The man was apparently drunk and disorderly, but that doesn't mean he's a habitual, incorrigible criminal. I don't know the situation in the store at the time so I can't say what the cops could have done differently to avoid being injured by the perpetrator's knife, though it's rather sad that eight officers couldn't subdue ONE man without five of them sustaining injuries. At least no one was seriously wounded or worse.

What I WILL say is good for the store owner! He knew there were break-ins happening in the area and he invested in a security system. Instead of suffering loss of product or cash, the perpetrator was arrested before any further damage could be done. Hopefully this will encourage other businesses to step up their security and maybe lessen the crime rate in the area as a result. :)

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As was pointed out earlier, the guy was surrounded. You're not going to be shooting firearms, using pepper spray, or apply any other projectile-type weapon because just on the other side of the suspect is a fellow cop. Visualize the situation, people, before you jump in with your criticisms.

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He may have been surrounded but now a few cops might have lifelong scars on their faces. they should have tasered him.

aw

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In a civilized justice system, police officers are not judge, jury, or executioner. The first priority for these officers was to apprehend the suspect so he could stand trial for the crimes he's accused of. And they did. Japanese police use guns only in the most extreme of circumstances, and this didn't qualify. They did the right thing.

No actually, I disagree. When a man pulls a knife, and threatens the officers with deadly force, the proper response is to use deadly force, or to subdue in a manner that does not endanger yourself. Tasers are a very good response to this situation. Pepper spray could also have been used as an alternative. Guns, possibly, if pepper spray, tasers, and batons failed to work, or were deemed too slow to subdue before he could inflict harm on others. Trying to tackle a knife wielding suspect, was not the proper method to subdue him. Saying otherwise is naive.

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Sarge at 09:44 PM JST - 21st July

I'll bet Uehara was really pissed at seeing cops a mere 5 minutes after he broke in.

um.. he was. pissed drunk! :D

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Then what is the use of carrying firearms if the police are not going to carry them? Perhaps the Japanese police should stop kidding themselves and assume the old British police view (hit them with a truncheon). Sorry, Cleo we will have to agree to disagree on this one, I just don't like the idea of police being tied up by the mental attitude of not being willing to use their weapons, even if they are faced with real danger.

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You people bitch when the cops don't get the job done and you bitch when they do! It's no win for those guys. In all this complaining you guys forgot one thing: It was 4 in the morning! It may have been too dark to get a clear shot. Besides, the story doesn't say if batons wasn't used.

The cops did a good job, the arrested the supect without the loss of human life or monetary damages, they may have got hurt, but that's part of the job, they knew and understood that going in.

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Am going to assume the speedy response was due to the fact that this is in Ginowan which isn't too far away from a number of US bases. An 8-person response is pretty impressive for one liqour store you have to admit.

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Then what is the use of carrying firearms if the police are not going to carry them?

Gosh, I've got a gun, what a waste if I don't shoot someone - isn't that a rather dangerous attitude?

Perhaps the Japanese police should stop kidding themselves and assume the old British police view (hit them with a truncheon).

I find it very disturbing that the British police are finding excuses to arm themselves more these days. 'Our cops don't need guns' used to be a point of pride.

The Japanese police force was armed after the war by the McArthur government; it's not something Japan chose for itself, and this may explain in part the caution with which guns are handled, and the reluctance to use them. I think you may be right that the japanese police should disarm. I would be happy if they did.

I just don't like the idea of police being tied up by the mental attitude of not being willing to use their weapons, even if they are faced with real danger.

The readier they are to use firearms against civilians, the more likely they are to be faced with real danger as the criminals up the ante.

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Quite honestly, we don't know precisely how this guy was taken into custody, so I'm not sure where the presumption that the police simply "tackled" him came from. In all likelyhood, batons were used. They tend to be the standard go-to weapon of choice for police in Japan. I have no problem with using pepper spray either. But shooting a guy who was clearly not Public Enemy No. 1 (he was a drunk looking for booze) is a massive over-reaction on so many levels as to beggar description. This bizarre belief that police officers are some sort of sacred cows endowed with a right to "plug" anyone who crosses their path is an unfathomably sad development for modern societies and speaks to an even more troubling casual disregard for life in general. Seriously, what's with this almost gleeful cry for blood? Is life really that cheap?

The officers sustained minor cuts. That comes with the job of serving and protecting. They did their jobs correctly.

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Japanese police don't deal with crazy violent crime on a daily basis, like police in places such as Detroit or LA or Washington DC. I'm guessing that they are so shocked at seeing it really happen, they hesitate. Just a guess.

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I'm going to have to agree that it's good they didn't use their guns. After all with a shaky hand you might miss and hit one of your own. These pussies risked getting shanked rather than taking him out. I mean how many can he slash before 5 guys can take out a drunk? He must have been pretty quick to slash 5 of em. If the 5 couldn't handle that situation quick enough then guns should be out of the question. Too dangerous in nervous J-cop hands.

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I don't want petty criminals thinking my daughter is going to 'drill' them anyways so they may as well get the first shot in. Nor do I want her to have unnecessary blood on her hands.

I don't know what planet you are living on, if you've ever ventured outside of your home, let alone your prefecture or even visited another country for that matter. I don't know, nor do I care for a second about you, But I truly hope to god your daughter never gets to face a REAL criminal, NOT for their safety, but for the safety of your daughter's.

I don't believe JN cops are totally incompetent, they know how to give directions, they know how to stop old people, kids and salary-men on bicycles to check their registrations, but that are in not any way Trained to handled anything more than giving out tickets or directions, nor should they be trusted to.

Whether you believe this or not I do not care, but for the sake of your daughter, I would hope she finds another line of work, one in which they actually train personnel for the actual tasks' at hand.

I would never ever rely on JN cops, NOR does the U.S. gov't here in Japan, we actually give them training. But I'm sure with your "Nihonjin Pride" you could never in a million years accept that fact...

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First we had people telling us what REAL cops do, now we have a call out for REAL criminals. Oy vay.

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J-Cops only get to practice shooting at the range couple of times a year, that's all. They are not used to shooting and to shoot the guy is definitely not the first thing on their mind when there's a crazy guy hurting people right in front of them. J-Cops are not properly trained to use a gun.

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J-Cops only get to practice shooting at the range couple of times a year, that's all. Thaaat's right. Cops in other countries actually practice shooting at real targets, not at the shooting range. Get real. I would never ever rely on JN cops, NOR does the U.S. gov't here in Japan, we actually give them training. Kind of shooting yourself in the foot there, Champ.

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Am going to assume the speedy response was due to the fact that this is in Ginowan which isn't too far away from a number of US bases. An 8-person response is pretty impressive for one liqour store you have to admit.

The speed was due to an alarm installed with the assistance of the police, which suggests setting off the alarm would alert the police directly. If there was a koban or police station near the liquor store, response would naturally be fast. If there were partol cars in the area, response would naturally be fast. There is very little traffic at that hour. Optimum conditions for quick response by the police.

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Kind of shooting yourself in the foot there, Champ.

I don't remember mentioning firearms training there brains... But that's ok, I'm sure all you english teacher's and salary-men Know all there is to know about law enforcement and self-defense techniques and tactics... (¬_¬)

Oh... and wasn't it a year ago or so that just one little scrawny 45kg geek killed like 6 or 7 people up in Akihabara...? Oh... but that was different huh...? These were just minor injuries....

I think NOT, anytime a knife is involved, it's NOT a trivial matter, these SMART Jcops are just lucky, AND I mean, L-U-C-K-Y that none of them had any serious injuries...

Like bringing a Knife to a gun fight... Jcops and REAL crime, Not A Good Idea!

Nobody is saying those cops should have gone in Guns Blazing, but to try to engage a drunk guy with a knife with only self-defense tactics and their 12 inch little plastic ASP's, (is As Chris Rock so eloquently says...) "Is just Ignat"

Need to use common-sense here people... Please... I know it's in such short supply here in Japan...

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we don't know precisely how this guy was taken into custody, so I'm not sure where the presumption that the police simply "tackled" him came from.

It comes from the 'all or nothing' mentality some people seem to have; either the cops gun a drunk down, or they stand around doing nothing and hoping he gets tired of cutting them up soon. Nothing in between is conceivable. We are LUCKY, and I mean L-U-C-K-Y that none of these people are cops....

You can tell someone doesn't know what they're talking about when they drag up the Akihabara incident as 'proof' of poor police work.

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I doubt many here have practiced or played with knives, either. You can stick or slash someone pretty fast if they are unprepared or unskilled. Being cut dozens of times in an encounter of 10 seconds is rather common. These officers did very well under the circumstances. There are likely few among us who could have done better.

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This guy might have been a drunk... but he was a drunk with weapon(s). It doesn't matter what his intention was entering the store, the moment he attempts to stab, cut, injure...etc anyone and especially a police officer then he should be dealt with using extreme force. Gun? Maybe not... but a sword would have done the trick.

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