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Tokyo lawyers to collect info on police stopping foreigners for questioning

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Proof that Japan is following in the footsteps of Uncle Sam more than ever.

-32 ( +17 / -49 )

I see the police always stopping and searching people in Roppongi but not only foreigners, its any male with long hair or that doesn't look like a businessman. They seem to always stop the same type of person and seem to be looking for drugs as they go through bags, pockets and wallets. Looks very humiliating to do this in public.

44 ( +51 / -7 )

I saw the japanese police in action with foreigners here in Japan twice.

One was in Nippori, they questioned and checked the plastic bag of a foreigner on the street.

But this foreigner looks damned suspicious and I am sure in my home country, the police would do the same thing.

Second time was on a parking Lot, beside a highway.

Police searched the car of 2 foreigners.

But here same thing; these 2 foreigners looked really suspicious and the police in my home country would also stop them and search the car.

I was personally involved with the police in a car accident. They were so amazing friendly to me! Absolutely awesome!

They even shook my hand like in an american movie, and they looked very proud.

First when they saw me, they looked nervous, but after they found out I can speak japanese, they changed completely from nervous to relieved and very easy going.

Maybe that is also a point. Comunication between police and foreigners can be difficult, if the foreigner can not speak japanese

-10 ( +36 / -46 )

Asked about the message, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference Dec 6 that Japanese police approach suspicious people in accordance with the law, such as when they have reasonable grounds to suspect someone has committed a crime, and that questioning is not carried out based on race or nationality.

Did the law mention anything about particular hairstyle or skin color?

https://www.jowhar.com/news/japanese-police-admit-that-he-was-looking-for-a-black-man-because-of-his-dreadlocks.html

17 ( +19 / -2 )

I used to work at the main office of an eikawa company and regularly had meetings and trainings with brand new teachers.

Sometimes they'd show up really late and I would find out they'd been stopped and questioned by the police about their visa status, residence card etc.

These new teachers were almost always in their suits, clean cut and walking. Trust me, none of them looked like they were suspicious or committing a crime. Even a middle aged couple were harrassed.

43 ( +51 / -8 )

First when they saw me, they looked nervous, but after they found out I can speak japanese, they changed completely from nervous to relieved and very easy going.

Yes it will be easy going since they can ask more info about you in details.

17 ( +21 / -4 )

@fiddlers right, some people they are being checked in front of busy station or intersection, it is really humiliating experience for them while passerby look at them as if someone committing crime.

33 ( +34 / -1 )

*Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference that Japanese police approach suspicious people in accordance with the law, such as when they have reasonable grounds to suspect someone has committed a crime*

Define “suspicious” and “reasonable.” If a non-Japanese is suspected of shoplifting in Roppongi last week, do you now have reasonable grounds to stop and search every person who appears foreign?

31 ( +31 / -0 )

Before Corona you could see the police stopping foreigners weekly at or near big train stations. I was also ready to open my bags several times but have always been waved through.

The message advised U.S. citizens to carry proof of immigration status and request consular notification if detained.

As foreigners they are required by law to carry either their passport or residence card, so there should be no need to “advise” this.

27 ( +28 / -1 )

These new teachers were almost always in their suits, clean cut and walking. Trust me, none of them looked like they were suspicious or committing a crime. Even a middle aged couple were harrassed.

They'll just find other excuses to stop them.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

As foreigners they are required by law to carry either their passport or residence card, so there should be no need to “advise” this.

Are you sure they only checking ID? No searching people clothes, bag and wallets?

https://www.jowhar.com/news/japanese-police-admit-that-he-was-looking-for-a-black-man-because-of-his-dreadlocks.html

8 ( +10 / -2 )

approach suspicious people in accordance with the law, such as when they have reasonable grounds to suspect someone has committed a crime,

The devil is in the details. "suspicious people". "reasonable grounds". Non-Caucasian, non-Japanese Asian, not having a worker drone conforming appearance all would fall into this category I reckon.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

Unlike other countries I guess police in Japan will stop foreigners mainly to check their visa status?

Additionally if they look dodge etc then they may be stopped under suspicion of being in possession of illicit drugs I guess.

If you are stopped I’d think you have the right to ask under what grounds you are being searched etc.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I’ve been stopped by the cops lots. In places like Shibuya, Shinjuku and Roppongi, they are checking for drugs. Once had me take my shoes off. Then in other places, they are checking documents, visa overstaying. They were always civil, but of course it’s racial profiling! Or in Roppongi, junky/scruffy profiling. I called them up on it too. Went to the station and lodged a complaint - I said they picked me up because I’m a gaijin. They said they were routine checking for visa over staying. It’s a complex country.

27 ( +30 / -3 )

Unlike other countries I guess police in Japan will stop foreigners mainly to check their visa status?

How do they know that they are foreigners in the beginning? So far y their appearance. So there are times they made mistaken with people that Japanese decedent like ハーフ people

12 ( +14 / -2 )

In 26 years in Japan, I’ve been asked precisely once. Proof, as if any more were needed that if you’re going to be a foreign resident in Japan, a white American male is the best one to be.

-17 ( +13 / -30 )

Yes it will be easy going since they can ask more info about you in details.

Yes, in my case they were asking me how is the food and beer in my home country.

They also wanted to know if beer in Japan is good and if I can eat raw fish.

-14 ( +11 / -25 )

A lawyer friend told me that when police stop you, you are allowed to ask a few things before answering anything or showing ID.

Their names and badge numbers

Why they are stopping you

Apparently, one office can not stop you alone. There needs to be two officers. That being said, it’s sometimes easier to just get it over and done with.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

I kinda got use to it. When i was young, i find it pretty exciting to be search by police. Is not like they are hurting you. They just want to see id's and maybe look if you carry any dangerous stuff. If you haven't done anything wrong, you won't feel anything. Is just a few minutes of your time. And to be fair, they are at least doing their job. There are crazy people carrying knives, weird liquids to spray on others, spy camera's etc. And the police do sometimes hit the jackpot and catch criminals. But i do think they should change the system a bit and try to expand the search on more people. There is a lot of creeps walking around.

I think the reason why they like to check more on foreigners is because they know a lot overstay their visas and sometimes people also secretly enter our borders illegally. Back in 90's there were really a lot of human smuggling from Asia countries.

I know is not a perfect system, but i do think is not a bad thing. Don't get offended and give a few minutes of your time to time. Most police officers are extremely friendly and polite.

-20 ( +14 / -34 )

And why do people complain?

As long as you did not commit a crime, you have nothing to worry.

But look at your home countries. Is it not the same there?

Who will be checked for visa violation, the foreigners! A national doesnt need a visa.

Who will be checked for drug dealing? The foreigner. Because mostly are the foreigners who are dealing with drugs.

-37 ( +15 / -52 )

 There are crazy people carrying knives, weird liquids to spray on others, spy camera's etc. And the police do sometimes hit the jackpot and catch criminals. But i do think they should change the system a bit and try to expand the search on more people. There is a lot of creeps walking around.

People that did really terrible things on the train, are they foreigners? However foreigners that are being checked all this time.

21 ( +27 / -6 )

@Monty And why do people complain?

People complain because people being checked over and over again for no reason.

https://www.debito.org/?p=14950

20 ( +25 / -5 )

https://www.jowhar.com/news/japanese-police-admit-that-he-was-looking-for-a-black-man-because-of-his-dreadlocks.html

”I’ve been in Japan all my life, born and raise here, but I [have] never felt like I belong here.” — Japanese citizen Alonzo Omotegawa (mother from Japanese, father from Bahamas) in January 2021 after being repeatedly stopped and having his belongings searched.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

This is nothing new. Around 10 years ago I was stopped and searched once in the back streets of Shibuya in the middle of the day on a weekday. An unmarked car with 4 uniformed police stopped when they saw me, all of them got out and asked my to hand over my wallet and take my jacket off. They searched through my wallet and jacket pockets, receipts, asked me what I was doing etc. Obviously searching for drugs. I was dressed casually with a three day growth, so I must have looked suspicious to them. For those saying this only happens to non-caucasion, you're wrong. I'm Caucasian and have seen other Caucasians being searched a few times around the dogenzaka area.

21 ( +22 / -1 )

This has happened to me before. Not so much "questioning" but they randomly stop one for an ID check. In Japan, they are allowed to do it with foreigners. Everyone has to make sure not to be polite to them and to demand they present their police ID for inspection first.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

 Not so much "questioning" but they randomly stop one for an ID check. In Japan, they are allowed to do it with foreigners. 

How they do know their target is really foreigner? Only by they look? Japanese ハーフ person also have foreign look.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I want the police to stop me. I want to show them that i am a legal resident of Japan.

It happened to me twice in Nippori station. I never got checked in Roppongi, but I always look at them when I pass by.

Once, I got checked in Osaka. I was so proud to show my card. I didn't know my companion was overstaying. It was a nightmare!

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

The devil is in the details. "suspicious people". "reasonable grounds". Non-Caucasian, non-Japanese Asian.

I'm Caucasian and have been stopped and searched twice, once 5 mins from my house in my local area. So it's ALL foreigners.

16 ( +19 / -3 )

Well, that post didn't last long. Quelle surprise.

Monty 07:25 am JST

Who will be checked for drug dealing? The foreigner. Because mostly are the foreigners who are dealing with drugs.

Japanese friend of mine gets stopped by the police every time he goes to Shibuya, just because he looks like Andy Warhol. Why are you whitewashing racial profiling by Japanese police?

6 ( +14 / -8 )

What’s the problem with you? Crime prevention, detection and prosecution are part of their job, so just be a little more cooperative instead of those unproven ‘woke’ accusations. And if you live here some longer and have met , greeted or shortly talked with a police officer, then they know you a bit, your look , your behavior etc and won’t ask you anything because you’re now known in the district. Of course it differs a bit in very big cities, especially if you are standing in the dark right next a station outside your accommodation area or just talking besides a known and similar to you looking potential drug dealer…lol That means, in fact, you have to change, if you don’t like to be often checked. Sleep at night at your home, don’t hang around all day with those visible or potential suspects etc, and they will never ever ask, it’s as easy as that.

-17 ( +7 / -24 )

In 26 years in Japan, I’ve been asked precisely once. Proof, as if any more were needed that if you’re going to be a foreign resident in Japan, a white American male is the best one to be.

Been here way longer than that, never been stopped.

White yes, definitely not American and most definitely not male.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

I've been stopped a handful of times over the years, almost all when on my bike. I only ever once felt it was because I was a foreigner, as the other times they seemed to be ready to stop anyone, and I was the guy that happened to be riding by.

-9 ( +7 / -16 )

The police in Japan and in Nagoya where I live are blatantly racist .

They randomly stop foreign people at Nagoya station and sometimes in Sakae on a pretty regular basis!

10 ( +18 / -8 )

Finally I would say.

In this year I have been stopped by them twice.

First time was during my lunch break,it was last spring and I was sitting on a bench eating my onigiri and drinking my water and a policeman with a scooter saw me and started questioning me about what am I doing here and why I am in Japan.

I recorded his harassment and told him if he wanted to arrest me he should do so otherwise leave me alone.

He wasted 40 minutes of my life.

The second time was in summer and I was waiting for my coworker in front of a convenience store around 8 p.m.

There was a patrol car parking there as well and other local people also standing in front of the convenience store.

And here we go again,the officers came to me and started questioning me and asking for my ID without any logical reasons.

When I asked them why don’t they stop questioning the others around me I got no answers.

Oh and as some posters above this has nothing to do with “Uncle Sam”.

I am German and caucasian in my late thirties and I find such things highly racist,emotionally and time consuming.

The police of this country sometimes act more with fear sometimes rather than logic.

Good to know that something is finally moving!

26 ( +34 / -8 )

White yes, definitely not American and most definitely not male.

Well, the police can’t ascertain by looking at a White person and pinpointing where they come from. They just think that if you’re white you’re American, it’s educational ignorance at best.

8 ( +17 / -9 )

This is a small island nation compared with the rest of the world and the thinking here is thwarted by Hollywood movies. The people of this island nation see these movies and think all foreigners are drug dealers and basically bad people. One thing to note, if a person from another country does not shave his face for three days does not mean that he is a bad person. But in a small island nation like Japan, the police see him as a drug dealer out to make a big score.

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

I remember my first year in Japan, when 2 teachers literally stopped and shielded their group of toddlers with their bodies as I passed by. And I thought how weird this place can be, maybe the only one on Earth a blonde white guy, green eyed in polo shirts can be seen with suspicion.

2 ( +13 / -11 )

I've been stopped a bunch. Usually, but not always, on my bicycle. I get frustrated, but am compliant because I'm a stickler for traffic rules and know I'm in the clear. I do take the time to point out other riders going by with earphones, on the wrong side, holding smartphones, umbrellas etc, whom the police see no reason to stop.

Once when I asked the chap why I'd been stopped, the reply was because some bikes had been stolen in the area. When I asked from what streets and on what dates, no answer was forthcoming.

All that said, I've found the police in Japan to be polite and respectful. I feel that you get what you give.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Proof, as if any more were needed that if you’re going to be a foreign resident in Japan, a white American male is the best one to be.

Japanese-looking would probably be better

4 ( +9 / -5 )

my friend (arabic type) was simply walking with caucasian guy last week and a policeman stopped them. My friend didn't accept to show his resident card as he clearly asked in a perfect Japanese a proof oh ayashii kodo...the policeman tried and tried again "come on let me do my job" but being persistent didnt mean you win. As he couldn't provide proof, my friend get away ignoring him...

you all have rights and debito is right to remind that by providing material...

5 ( +12 / -7 )

This has been going on for DECADES. It surprises me that the US would issue this now after many years of this practice going on. I have been stopped DOZENS of times and I wasn't even in Tokyo. Its embarrassing and the people around look at you as if you are a criminal and it enforces the general view that many Japanese have that foreigners are dangerous or suspicious. Many Japanese are not even aware that this practice goes on because the cops don't stop foreigners who are with other Japanese nationals. Very smart. They know that what they are doing is racist and THAT'S why they make sure that they do not stop foreigners hanging out with Japanese.

Those who condone this kind of racism are a part of the problem not the solution. This shameful whitewashing and glossing over what is undoubtly racist behavior helps no one. It creates division in society, anger and mistrust of law enforcement, racial tension, and general depletion of goodwill between Japanese and non Japanese.

Also bear in mind that children of mixed heritage will also be caught up in this as many of them do not look Japanese. Who wants their child subjected to this treatment on a regular basis?

18 ( +26 / -8 )

Who will be checked for drug dealing? The foreigner. Because mostly are the foreigners who are dealing with drugs.

That’s the pathetic myth and quagmire that Japan needs to get out of. More and more Japanese are sadly doing drugs, it’s not in the open and in your face, usually very quiet and discreet, but it’s there and it’s slowly becoming a problem and that’s the ignorance on the part of the police and government to think that if drugs are involved in a crime it’s always cute foreigner that’s responsible and that’s slowly changing. Nowadays, if the police would profile more Japanese in addition to the foreigners they pull aside they might be in for quite a surprise. I’m not saying or implying that Japan has a serious drug problem, I am saying it’s a growing problem that can get out of control if not checked. The Japanese are infallible humans as well, they have desire and urges as well and to dismiss that and to make it out that foreigners and drugs are a threat to the social norm, better think again.

8 ( +16 / -8 )

I don’t see why everyone is complaining about this. If the poor ole cops didn’t get out of their cost little police boxes to do this , they’d be bored stiff. Gives them something to do!

-20 ( +3 / -23 )

Japanese friend of mine gets stopped by the police every time he goes to Shibuya, just because he looks like Andy Warhol.

Yes sure...a friend of you who has a friend who has another friend...

I really hope that you do never need the help of the police in japan.

But in case you need them, don't scream racism.

-18 ( +6 / -24 )

Only those with something to hide have a problem with being stopped by Japanese police. I had it done four times in the years I lived in Japan. It is 15 minutes of inconvenience, but if you have nothing to hide it is not a big deal.

-15 ( +6 / -21 )

"Unlike other countries I guess police in Japan will stop foreigners mainly to check their visa status?

Additionally if they look dodge etc then they may be stopped under suspicion of being in possession of illicit drugs I guess.

If you are stopped I’d think you have the right to ask under what grounds you are being searched etc."

@AustPaul you are absolutely correct. If a policeman asks to see your ID, you also have the right to see theirs first...petty I'm sure, but a lot of Police don't like to do so. You are actually under no obligation to allow them to search you. They must demonstrate why they suspect you of doing something wrong in the first place, of course this is often no more than appearance and even unofficial quotas of people to stop n search.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

I also think it's highly ironic to have the US embassy comment on a foreign police force racial profiling

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

So, what's the big deal? I've been stopped just like everyone else here.

If you've done nothing wrong, just get it over with and be on your way.

Too much "fussing" gives the police more excuses to keep questioning you.

As another poster here said, "you get what you give", so be cooperative, not belligerent.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

Japanese people stopping busy whites on their way to very important business are only given 5 minutes of my time. I show my zairyu card (mandatory) but any other bs is cut short with real simple magic words.

Keisatsu: そうなんですか?気をつけてくださいね “Got it! Have a nice day Sir!”

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

I lived in several areas in Japan for 27 years.

No police ever stopped me for anything. Ever. Not once.

I didn't go to Roppongi though. Too many sketchy gaijins...

7 ( +20 / -13 )

I have been stopped more times than I care to remember.

Often when driving, no reason just pull me over ask the same question "is your winker working" even though I hadn't changed lanes, and worse just used it to pull over at their request.

Next is to show them my foreign registration card, not my driver's licence my foreign registration card.

I hand them my driver's license band watch them squirm a bit!

The fun ones are when they stop me again the same silly question "is your winker working" and them make the mistake of asking my Japanese wife or adult children for their foreign registration card then when told them don't have any as they are Japanese the cops inevitably make the stupid mistake if asking for "proof" which always leads to any one of the 3 yelling and educating the police on the fact Japanese are not required to Cary any ID or proof they are citizens.

17 ( +22 / -5 )

I really hope that you do never need the help of the police in japan.

But in case you need them, don't scream racism.

Try getting help from the Japanese police in a conflict with a Japanese individual or organization. Good luck!

16 ( +20 / -4 )

The one I find the funniest is in Akihabara watching the police stop cars driven by foreigners or foreigners and searching their bags.

I have been stopped and searched multiple times ( I am their on business buying supplies).

When I ask why and what are the looking for they reply weapons (AKA knives) I again plaid dumb and ask Why. They proceed to tell me about the guy the ran people over with a truck then stabbed people.

I say yes I remember wasn't he 100% Japanese? So why are you searching foreigners?

14 ( +19 / -5 )

I think the main reason that Police are able to get away with what I see as unreasonable treatment of non-Japanese and Japanese is because no one in Japan knows their rights. In UK we have a book called Know Your Rights which I had and it helped me a number of times. I do not know if there is one that is for Japan or not, but if there is, everyone should have one!!!

11 ( +16 / -5 )

Like anywhere, there are good cops and not so good cops. Who they stop and search is up to their discretion. My experience is that most police in Japan are very polite and go out of their way to be friendly, but I've also been hassled for no reason be someone on a power trip. Like others have said above, this thing happens in any almost any country.

But targeting someone for no other reason than the color of his skin? This has to be called out. Totally bad policing, in my opinion.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

This has happened to me twice, one minute from my apartment in central Tokyo. Because the young police have nothing better to do with their time.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

I feel like men get this way more than women, and moreso men of color.

As a white women, I got stopped once to show my proof of residency when I was a student back in 2012 in a major station around 4am.

I have been working and living in Japan for 5 ~ 6 years now and never got stopped in that span. My (jp) boyfriend and I had three encounters with the police - asked for help because a guy seems dead on the pavement, and the other two times were car related incidents, there was never anything wrong with the way I was treated those times.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

"Guilty until proven innocent" is lazy policing. Purely a fishing expedition and you have every right to protest if/when it happens. No need to be anything other than minimally civil to police who are inconveniencing you for no discernible reason. If you are stopped, do not move. Do not move to the side of the path- stay where you are so the police are seen by others as creating a scene. Do not go to the station unless arrested. Just calmly say, "Can I go now?" repeatedly. Do not answer questions. Even if they are friendly, the police are most assuredly NOT your friend. Everything they do or say is geared towards getting you in their control.

Also, be VERY careful about showing off your Japanese ability to the police! It is better to stick to English as much as possible. Most foreigners here have an inflated sense of their Japanese level. Once the plod realize that you can speaka da language, they will just elevate the situation, speak more and more in difficult and legalistic ways, and try to catch you in a lie or mistake. Anything to prolong the action.

As others have said, the problem with ID checks is that Japanese citizens are not legallly required to carry ID. People whose look does not match the stereotypic 'Japanese' phenotype are caught in a Catch-22. How to prove you are Japanese when legallly you DON'T have to prove you are Japanese?

Zero accountability for the police on this matter, and it is one of the worst aspects of living here.

17 ( +20 / -3 )

It's not just "good cops and bad cops" when it is SYSTEMATIC. The orders from on high are: pay special attention to foreigners. The training from on high systematically states: foreigners cause crime in Japan.

When statistic after statistic, year after year, all prove the exact same thing: that foreigners as a group produce FEWER crimes in total and as a proportion than the locals themselves, yet every citizen repeats the exact same trope: foreigners cause the crime in Japan...it's not "good apples and bad apples": it's a systemic, top-down mis-education going on. Same happening in the police force.

At airports, "random" security checks by police I've observed on multiple occasions...not a single Asian-looking person was "randomly" checked, so as not to get any Japanese involved. There would be 100 people sitting together, and the cop would walk right up the the non-Asian and say "random security check!" 10 out of 10 "randomly" checked were Caucasian, or else of African descent. Coincidence, right? No. There is an order here from above to follow, which is being followed.

Police. like all government, the world over, will take a mile if you give them an inch. Checking the abuses and correcting their discriminatory policies should be the duty of all for the benefit of all, unless you like things like foreigners dying in prison for lack of medical care, or foreigners being framed for crimes they didn't commit...because they're foreigners.

I applaud these lawyers for their beneficial if "inconvenient" inquiries, and support the publication of the damning, anti-foreigner police data they will collect.

21 ( +23 / -2 )

Unfortunately most of the time depending on immigration policies, the instability of a foreigner's home country and the general uncertainties of life it will create more foreigners who will commit an act. Most Japanese having a place of refuge back in their hometown would often be less desperate.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

Anyone trying to claim the Japanese policy treat foreigners equally is not being honest to put it lightly.

I mentioned I recently had a serious heart attack, I was in ICU for several days, with all that going on my wife suddenly realised that all my belongings hand been taken put in a bag and given to her.

And included was my Foreign registration card. Knowing full well how the police and authorities are in Japan she actually returned to the hospital late night to make sure my registration card was with me in ICU.

I wasn't even conscious but the way the police in Japan work and her having observed it for years made her nervous enough to make sure I had my "official ID" on me even in hospital in ICU.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

I rarely get stopped, mainly because I'm on the road (car, motorcycle, trucks), everytime I was stopped (3 times?) I was walking or on my bike.

Yep, pretty weird when the "law enforcement" sees some random foreigner in suits hurrying somewhere as a risk but again, they might hit the jackpot pretty frequently in Shinjuku/Shibuya etc. for doing this. I personally avoid Shibuya station at all costs, overcrowded, full of crazy, hyperactive, randomly yelling, obnoxious people doing nothing but taking up space. This applies to japanese and foreigners.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

As another poster has mentioned it’s important to know your rights. By law there needs to be justification in stopping, detaining and searching someone and ‘being gaijin’ would not cut it.

Additionally law enforcement is a position of authority and people in most countries will respect that position, in Japan maybe more so.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@AntiquesavingToday

The one I find the funniest is in Akihabara watching the police stop cars driven by foreigners or foreigners and searching their bags. I have been stopped and searched multiple times ( I am their on business buying supplies). When I ask why and what are the looking for they reply weapons (AKA knives) I again plaid dumb and ask Why. They proceed to tell me about the guy the ran people over with a truck then stabbed people.

I say yes I remember wasn't he 100% Japanese? So why are you searching foreigners?

Yes, it was done by Japanese not foreigners and it happened 13 years ago. Of course vehicle won't to stop at all.

https://japantoday.com/category/crime/akihabara-observes-13th-anniversary-of-deadly-stabbing-rampage

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"We have good reasons to believe that police officers frequently racially profile people of foreign origin,"

Obvious to everyone BUT the Japanese people.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

@RiskyMosaic, Once when I asked the chap why I'd been stopped, the reply was because some bikes had been stolen in the area. When I asked from what streets and on what dates, no answer was forthcoming.

Or sometimes they will come up with something that really fuzzy and there's nothing to do with bikes.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

After so long here, and reading Debitos stuff in the Japan Times pre internet days then haven't we all just come to accept this?Quickest way out, is to get your Gaijin card out and smile. Don't make a big deal out of it and don't wait to be asked. They can't search you anyway, so you're better off just making a big deal of emptying your pockets whilst getting your card out and giving them no reason to push any further. Police are instutitionally racist here. Maybe this will bring some changes, but unlikely.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

I remember going into a foreigner pub in Shibuya a few years back (bar r us ?? something like that) and thinking it looked more like a pub in Africa with some pretty scary looking X child soldier like crew! I thought to myself then if the police were here and checked everyone for legal residency, my friend and I would have been most likely the only ones!...

Police should check foreigners for residency status. If there is nothing to hide there is nothing to fear, right?

-18 ( +4 / -22 )

@Sven Asai What’s the problem with you? Crime prevention, detection and prosecution are part of their job, so just be a little more cooperative instead of those unproven ‘woke’ accusations.

It's not unproven 'woke' accusations, if it's the case why embassy even lawyers in Tokyo interested in this? There are lot of article about this in media also Debito.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/U.S.-embassy-warns-of-suspected-racial-profiling-by-Japan-police

especially if you are standing in the dark right next a station outside your accommodation area or just talking besides a known and similar to you looking potential drug dealer…lol That means, in fact, you have to change, if you don’t like to be often checked.

Check comment from @speed and @finallyrich, they see that foreigners with suits like businessman still being stopped.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

MontyToday  09:46 am

Not sure if you live in Japan but hit any red light district, go to kabukicho and it is no different except the punters are all Japanese!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I guess I'm lucky then. Never got stopped by the J-cops in 17 years.

When I came to Japan I took a refresher course in Japanese language to prepare for JPLT n Shin-Okubo (a.k.a. little Korea in Tokyo). On the first day the school offered a "what-to-do-if-the-J-cops-stop-you" course. While I did never use what they taught us, it seems that colored students were stopped a lot in the neighborhood.

The only case I ever saw in Shin-Okubo were 2 cops stopping a car full of very suspicious Japanese. (they looked and acted like a Yakuza-troop from a 70s flick).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Glad I blend in with my camouflage.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 no different except the punters are all Japanese!

I never had any problem with them.

Only one time, one japanese Guy approached me and asked me about DVD, and I said "no thanks" and he walked away.

They never crab my arm, like the Roppongi Guys do, they never follow me hundreds of meters and talking some S..t to me, they never tried to pull me into any dark corner...

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

If these attorneys are truly interested @Reckless 9:22am, perhaps they would have requested Kyodo News to attach a link or “free-dial” number as a venue for foreigners to provide information ? . . . Or, did they and it was too troublesome ?

*- @Reckless 9:22am: “I would be happy to provide data. Stopped at Jiyugaoka last year walking home at 10 pm. Reason given - “there are a lot of foreigners in this area.” ??*

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Secondly, can the the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan be trusted to disseminate these stories abroad when they have been caught committing their own forms of censorship in the last year?

https://globalvoices.org/2020/05/25/foreign-correspondents-club-of-japan-accused-of-censorship-after-taking-down-tokyo-olympics-parody/ -

- “[…] The undersigned journalists are appalled by the fact that the Club authorities did not meet their responsibility to defend freedom of the press, which was their most sacred duty. By their words and actions, they have undermined free expression in Japan and emboldened the enemies of democratic debate. […]” -

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Question:

Can cops legally pad you down on the streets and check your bags just because they feel like?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

MontyToday  10:10 am JST

Perhaps you need to get out of Roppongi a bit more and learn about Japan?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

They have Checked me 4-5 times around Shinjuku Ikebukuro area. Basically they are looking at visa expiration. Compared to other countries, the Japanese police are too kind and friendly.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

GdTokyoToday  07:18 am JST

Proof, as if any more were needed that if you’re going to be a foreign resident in Japan, a white American male is the best one to be.

Really? We all know that there is a pecking order concerning which foreigners the Japanese like the most and Americans do not come top of the white section of the list, maybe 4th or 5th.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Finally, this issue seems more appropriately headlined as a ‘National’ concern for tourists interested in visiting Japan & foreign residents reading this media site. Should be ‘front page’ news with an opportunity to be picked up by outside foreign press and other online sites than relegated to the usually local, heartbreaking or prurient matters of the “Crime” section?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I've been lucky and I think in all the years I've been here I've never been stopped because of the way I look. However, a friend of mine told me he was stopped 4 times at 4 different times in the same month by the same cop who requested in immigration card. He was really pissed about it. He told me he thought the cop just wanted to practice his English on him as the main motive for stopping him repeatedly. However, that was many years ago and I'm not sure what it's like now, but I haven't ever been stopped even though I've been greeted by Japanese police officers on the street when walking by them on the street, but they never stopped me.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yeh there was that and while I don't want to stereotype or casually racially vilify anyone...but if you were there I think you would have agreed, regardless of you racial profile, there wasn't a legitimately employed one among them.....and if the shoe fits....what is the harm for police in asking to see some form of ID or residency status??? Nothing to hide nothing to fear!

-9 ( +3 / -12 )

And I thought how weird this place can be, maybe the only one on Earth a blonde white guy, green eyed in polo shirts can be seen with suspicion.

Funny how latent racism comes out when discussing such topics. Why should your paler countenance be seen as less suspicious than a dusky one!!

I've probably been stopped around 5 times in my 20 years here, first few times I was on a bike on a weekend, with was understandable though not acceptable.

Next time was when I was on my way to the tax office(in a suit) to file my taxes and another time outside my Gym, carrying my gym gear!!! So profiling is alive and flourishing , whether you look suspicious or not!!!

0 ( +5 / -5 )

However, a friend of mine told me he was stopped 4 times at 4 different times in the same month by the same cop who requested in immigration card. He was really pissed about it. He told me he thought the cop just wanted to practice his English on him as the main motive for stopping him repeatedly. However, that was many years ago and I'm not sure what it's like now.

Now? It's nowhere getting less even embassy now become aware and issue a warning about this.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/International-relations/U.S.-embassy-warns-of-suspected-racial-profiling-by-Japan-police

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Perhaps you need to get out of Roppongi a bit more and learn about Japan?

I am not sure what does a japanese street tout and a nigerian Roppongi tout has to do with learning about Japan.

But anyway, what else can we both learn about japan after so many years here?

I mean if you just sit in your house and never try to integrate here, then yes, you have many things to learn, or let me better say to understand.

I remember that you complained almost every day here about your life in Japan, but you are still here. (Or let me say, I guess you are still here)

I am happy to live here and and I am not the kind of foreigner who sees everything in Japan negative and whining day in day out how racist or bad my life is here.

Most of the foreigners here are too sensitive.

But if people think everything here is so bad and racist, everyone is free to leave Japan.

-17 ( +3 / -20 )

SpeedToday  06:58 am JST

I used to work at the main office of an eikawa company and regularly had meetings and trainings with brand new teachers.

Sometimes they'd show up really late and I would find out they'd been stopped and questioned by the police about their visa status, residence card etc.

Maybe they wanted to practice their English with a real teacher?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Most of the foreigners here are too sensitive.

But if people think everything here is so bad and racist, everyone is free to leave Japan.

Not too sensitive, since it's based on fact. Even there was a demonstration for that, so other people know this thing is really exist.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/asia/japan-police-brutality-against-kurdish-man-and-racial-injustice-spark-tokyo-protest-1.1029783

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I don't think the cops want to "practice their English" with foreigners they pull off the streets.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

This is one reason why I can't stand Tokyo. It's just a hassle, too big, too loud, noisy and a mess, love Kyushu, big, wide quiet and usually the cops almost never bother anyone, got stopped one time and that was because I was driving and dozing off in my car and driving as if I was drunk, the cop pulled me over, asked if I was ok, I told him I was very sleepy and worked a long day, he gave me a sobriety test, I gave him both of my ID's, he checked everything and I was on my way and he told me if I am sleepy and can't drive, pull up in a conbini parking lot and take a nap, the cop was very kind, took all of 10 min and I was on my way and that was really it.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Even there was a demonstration for that, so other people know this thing is really exist.

Yes maybe you are right and this thing exist, but the point is does it how serious do you take it?

I am working here in a japanese company since many many years. I am the only foreigner among 1500 japanese.

Of course some like me, some not.

Some people say bad things about me, but so what?

Should I say it is racist?

Come on...

My japanese coworkers also say bad things among each other.

In Japan you should take things relaxed. Don't take each small thing serious and don't judge it always as racist.

Therefore I said some foreigners here in japan are too sensitive.

You need balls to live in Japan, and you should take many things with humour and don't think that everything or everyone is against you because you are foreigner.

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

While the police here may be polite, they are not ever friendly. Their sole motivation in stopping you is to gather evidence sufficient to arrest you for something. You do not have to answer their questions. Do not try to use your 'gaijin charm' to talk your way out of the situation- it will have no effect. Remain silent, only ask if you can go now. Chances are there will be more than one officer, all talking at the same time, trying to confuse you and get you to say something that lets them hold you. Don't try to keep up with them. Just stay silent as much as possible.

As for searching your possessions, they are not allowed to do so without specific reason. They generally need a warrant to do so, but they WILL strongly ask for your 'co-operation' and make it seem mandatory. Again, stay silent as much as possible, say 'no thank you', and be still. Don't argue, raise your voice, try to move. All of these can be construed as obstructing the police and you will be arrested.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

fits....what is the harm for police in asking to see some form of ID or residency status??? Nothing to hide nothing to fear!

Really, give us a break.

This was years ago but give a typical example of the "nothing to fear" false flag!

3:00 in the morning I walked out of my place ( an apartment building at the time) I was in my pajamas had only a few hundred yen and my keys.

My daughter a toddler at the time was sick with fever and I went to the vending machine to get a sports drink for her as per the doctor's instructions.

The machine was on the building property right next to the entrance door.

Just then a police on bicycle was going by. Stopped me ask for my Gaijin card, said it was in the apartment and my wife could bring it out if he rang the doorbell.

Again I am in my pajamas key in hand and he saw me come out of the building.

No refused to let me ring the doorbell, he called for a police car and they took me to the station where once there they called my house told my wife to bring my Gaijin card to the police station.

Oh yes I told them my daughter was sick.

My wife took my sick daughter and my then 1 month old son by taxi to the police station to show my Gaijin card.

She was in a very bad mood calling the police names I had never heard Japanese use before.

Have to give my ex-wife credit as she never took crap from the police or immigration.

But it could have all been avoided had the police just rang the doorbell.

So lesson is don't even walk out the front door without your Gaijin card.

13 ( +19 / -6 )

Sorry Monty.. We need 'Balls' to live on Japan? Easiest non English speaking country in the world to live in. Odd comment.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

@Antiquesaving

No refused to let me ring the doorbell, he called for a police car and they took me to the station where once there they called my house told my wife to bring my Gaijin card to the police station.

Oh yes I told them my daughter was sick. My wife took my sick daughter and my then 1 month old son by taxi to the police station to show my Gaijin card.

Sorry to hear your story, instead letting you get your card that you can get just a few meter from your residence they just made your wife to bring both of children early in the morning, while one of them was sick, to their station.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

You need balls to live in Japan, 

No in actuality you need balls, strength, integrity and confidence to to the right thing and point out when something is wrong instead of cowering in the corner acting like nothing wrong is happening.

Back in my home country my friends in I would constantly confront store owners, police, etc... because of the treatment towards native American friends of ours. A problem that still persists but sticking one's head in the sand and acting like there is no problem isn't the answer.

Real courage comes in confronting the problem not ignoring it.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

I have one more additional thing to say...as a kind of an advice.

Take the thing which you think is negative, and turn it to positive for you.

In my company, as a foreigner, I can do things which a Japanese coworker would never do. And it would never be accepted by the bosses if the Japanese coworker do that.

But me, I can do that. I can do things here that a Japanese worker can not do.

And you know what my boss is saying, “It is ok, Monty is a foreigner”.

So in that case I am very happy to be the foreigner.

Is it racist? Maybe yes, maybe no, but who cares?

I have my advantages from that.

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

There must be some truth in it because there are always bad apples, they just wanna know how extensive.

Some tips from JT:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/community/2020/01/20/issues/remain-calm-when-stopped-police-japan/

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Jeeze. I do not know what you guys have been doing (sleeping in hedges, making bongs from Coke cans, sporting pedo beards, fans of the trench coat?), but I have NEVER been stopped in the street by cops. In fact, the one time I did have the cops called on me (some drunk git objected to a foreigner outside his local conbini), HE was hauled away.

You are doing something wrong, boys.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

It's a Bush League move to ever start speaking fluent Japanese with a J-cop. They will then relax because they know they can go into full interrogation mode with you. Far better to feign complete inability with Nihongo and make them sweat. Most don't want to be bothered with dealing with a clueless gaijin, and will want to end their interaction with you as quickly as possible.

Sometimes it's better to check that ego.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

You do not have to answer their questions. Do not try to use your 'gaijin charm' to talk your way out of the situation- it will have no effect. Remain silent, only ask if you can go now.

I have always done the opposite of that, and have never had a problem. But don't take that as naivete. I'm generally distrustful of police and deal with them as appropriate to the situation. If you've had nothing but negative experiences with the police here, then perhaps the problem is you.

Chances are there will be more than one officer, all talking at the same time, trying to confuse you and get you to say something that lets them hold you. Don't try to keep up with them. Just stay silent as much as possible.

Not my experience. In the ten or so times I've been stopped, there have never been more than two, and usually only one. One quite obviously a rookie doing the talking, and the other a superior I assume.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

i've been here a while and although I was stopped a couple of times back in 1975, I have not been troubled by them since.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have no doubt this happens, though in the 15 years of living in Japan I was never stopped by the police (I'm a caucasian male), though I know of others who have. I have also never (to my knowledge) experienced Japanese not wanting to sit next to me on the train/bus as others have reported.

Is it a particular type of foreigner that get's targeted?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

MontyToday  07:25 am JST

And why do people complain?

As long as you did not commit a crime, you have nothing to worry.

But look at your home countries. Is it not the same there?

Who will be checked for visa violation, the foreigners! A national doesnt need a visa.

Who will be checked for drug dealing? The foreigner. Because mostly are the foreigners who are dealing with drugs.

I wonder if you are Japanese because this attitude (that foreigners are drug dealers and criminals) is very common and is at the root of the problem this investigation aims to address.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Good for You” but do you ever consider continuing to take advantage over others and having the superiors make excuses for you might also be contributing some anti-foreigner resentments in the community?

*- “**I have a kind of an advice: Take the thing which you think is negative, and turn it to positive for you.*

In my company, as a foreigner, I can do things which a J coworker would never do, it would never be accepted by the bosses if the J coworker do that.

But me, I can do that. I can do things here that a J worker can not do.

And you know what my boss is saying, “It is ok, —— is a foreigner”.

So in that case I am very happy to be the foreigner. 

Is it racist? Maybe yes, maybe no, …

but who cares?

Your “co**workers” might ?**

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In 22 years here, I have only been stopped once randomly at 8pm on my bike. The reason was some chikan occured in the area and they were checking. That's it. Otherwise, never been questionned in busy entertainment districts like Shibuya or Roppongi when I was going 20 years ago. But there is no doubt that if you are hanging in those places, the entertainemnt districts of major cities, the chance you will be controlled is getting high if you look suspicious. This is the same allover the world. Two days ago, a guy was arrested for counterfeiting 260 residence cards.

I live now far from Tokyo in a small/middle sized city and there is no random check.

But the police does the job. In my country, it is common to be controlled when driving, for checking the driving licence, car insurance, etc, but not here.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

In 26 years in Japan, I’ve been asked precisely once. Proof, as if any more were needed that if you’re going to be a foreign resident in Japan, a white American male is the best one to be.

26 years and still making egregious comments that consider nobody but yourself.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The problem is not that they are stopping suspicious people, the problem is that they are using BS excuses to stop unsuspicious people. A friend of mine got stopped walking through a station yesterday on his lunch break, their excuse was that he was 'walking funny' and they fully searched him, including asking him to pull up his sleeves and show his arms for injection marks. WTF

12 ( +12 / -0 )

US makes demands and Japan follows.

Shameful!

-14 ( +2 / -16 )

My favourite thing to do that was passed on to me decades ago.

When stopped never let them know you speak Japanese.

Instead say "Nihongo Tabemasen" ( I don't eat Japanese language) the look on the cops faces is priceless.

Then they often go on trying to explain the difference between don't eat Japanese and don't speak Japanese,

Play completely ignorant, try not to laugh, at one point they get tired and just let you on your way oh and if you are like me and your first language isn't English then do not say a single word in English, I haven't once encountered a cop that speaks French.

The looks are precious as their stereotype that all foreigners speak English is shattered.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

StrangerlandToday  07:59 am JST

I've been stopped a handful of times over the years, almost all when on my bike. I only ever once felt it was because I was a foreigner, as the other times they seemed to be ready to stop anyone, and I was the guy that happened to be riding by.

Sure sounds random!

All Japanese are stopped a handful of times over the years too.

Your co-workers will attest to this for sure.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

@Monty

Who will be checked for drug dealing? The foreigner. Because mostly are the foreigners who are dealing with drugs.

@letsberealistic

I wonder if you are Japanese because this attitude (that foreigners are drug dealers and criminals) is very common and is at the root of the problem this investigation aims to address

I find @Monty's comments interesting and telling about him.

In over 30 years in Japan the only time I have been offered illegal Drugs the person selling them were Japanese.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

its kind of annoying that foreigenrs have to carry ether id card or passport while japanese natives dont have even own id yet...

as long as you did not do anything wrong and you are innocent you dont need to worry,but still i feel a bit annoyed.

it happened to me before whle i lived in Osaka.after work coming back home by last train and bunch of civilians surrounded me and asked me for my status etc,passport ,visa etc.they were not so polite and i have almost missed train back home.after routine check i get docs back without any sorry.

another time when i have returned home bit late,someone was around my house than jump out of shade drove fast unmarked police cars and group of "cowboys" have asked me again what i am doing there,why i am that late,if i drink some alcohol,where are my documents...result again same after routine check they just drove away without any sorry...at 2am...

last time it happened to me at kansai airport,someone looks like salaryman came to me and asked me what is my status etc.i have asked who are you to take care about me?he said he is japanese police.i have said ok show me proof.than some message by radio and some 10 "cowboys" came from nowehere and asked me why i am impolite...again after routine check they have left without saying a single word.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

bass4funkToday  08:11 am JST

White yes, definitely not American and most definitely not male.

Well, the police can’t ascertain by looking at a White person and pinpointing where they come from. They just think that if you’re white you’re American,

I’m not sure about that, bass.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@WeiWei

I am a resident and never carry my card as ID. I thought that rule was long ago changed.

I have been stopped by police quite a few times but nearly always to check the bike I am riding is mine. They are polite, they do not keep me for long and they are checking other people as well.

When ID was part of that I would be handing it to the police even before they asked. It is a long time since I have been stopped though and during the past couple of years my adventures have been close to where I live and the police around my area know me by sight.

This article gives no details on which people are being stopped as foreigner is a very vague term. US embassy tweets are hardly a good source of information.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

"Random ID check" is a borderline thing. Show ID (after getting the police to show theirs), keep your trap shut, get on with your day. Once the police determine that you are not a visa overstayer, the rest of their questioning is just a fishing expedition. There are a lot of bored cops in Japan who eventually get tired of sitting in the Koban and want to have something to do. And catching a random illegal foreigner is just the thing- easy, not dangerous, and looks good on the record.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Over the years I've seen quite a few people stopped and questioned by the police, many of them on bikes, not one a foreigner though.

I myself had been stopped once, on my way to a kombini late at night, on a dark street riding a bike with no lights.

I have no ID with me at that time and the policeman called somebody atvthe station to talk to me in English,

Just a few questions and he let me on my way, not quite polite, not rude either.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Had two stop me on my push bike just getting back to my home. The one with the machine to confirm it was my bike and registered to me was fine.

The other almost demanded my name, where I had been, where I was from and where I was living.

I looked at him with a big smile and in a calm voice asked him why he was asking me all the questions.

Luckily by that time the machine told the one fellow my name and it was properly registered to me.

Moral of the story,

At night time the most dangerous thing for a foreigner individual is a cop.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

No in actuality you need balls, strength, integrity and confidence to to the right thing and point out when something is wrong instead of cowering in the corner acting like nothing wrong is happening.

Back in my home country my friends in I would constantly confront store owners, police, etc... because of the treatment towards native American friends of ours. A problem that still persists but sticking one's head in the sand and acting like there is no problem isn't the answer.

Real courage comes in confronting the problem not ignoring it.

THIS!!!!

nice one Antiquesaving!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

This is factually incorrect, not to mention extremely offensive and vulgar.

Maybe not in your home country, but in mine!

Home Country means the country you are born and grown up.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

While picking up incoming contractors at Hanada arrivals (in suit), I was detained, questioned thoroughly, both vehicle & person searched, all with a firm & authoritative demeanor. Even as I spoke Japanese, had all my documents in order. I was surprised that I was selected out of the line of cars. I have discovered that compliance is your friend in such situations around the world. Shoganai.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

This is factually incorrect, not to mention extremely offensive and vulgar.

Sorry, wrong english.

Maybe Factually incorrect in your home country, but not in mine!

Home Country means the country you are born and grown up.

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

I’m not sure about that, bass.

Actually, it usually is, if you’re white they didn’t ask you are you Russian or are you Brazilian or Spanish, no. People will usually ask you are you an American. I hear it a few times a month at least. Now Of course you also have people that will ask you where are you from, but for the most part they just ask you if you’re an American, often.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I forwarded this article to my daughter.

She is in her mid twenties Caucasian Japanese mixed and a Japanese citizen.

She says that any foreigners claiming to have never been stopped and asked for ID either doesn't live in Japan or never leaves their home.

As a graduate student she and any non Japanese wouldn't regularly be stopped and asked to show their Gaijin card.

As a citizen she does not need a Gaijin card of proof of being Japanese but both her brother and her are regularly stopped and have even been told they have to carry proof of citizenship, (which is blatantly false).

Both my now mid 20s adult children get stopped regularly, so do their other mixed friends and all their non Japanese friends and co-workers.

Funny how every foreigner I know, ever mixed Japanese I know as well as all those my family know say they have been stopped but we have some here saying not once.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

FYIToday  12:52 pm JST

Racial profiling actually works.

Really?

Interesting that Japan's own statistics point out that on a percentage basis the foreign population of Japan are less likely to commit a crime.

Let me be clear a smaller portion of foreigners commit crimes than the native Japanese.

But if you look around you will notice all the "warning" posters for crimes make the criminals look clearly non Japanese.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Two weeks ago, walking my dog in a park in Osaka, I was stopped by a member of the filth. What for? Apparently my jeans were too low on my waist- I kid you not. He asked me to pull them up, I had to explain that they were Diesels and the design is low cut on the waist and I'd do myself a mischief if I pulled them up, but all I got was a long lecture on the poor mums and kids who had to share the park with such a good-for-nothing as I.

I took the opportunity to sit down, with my dog and chu-hi (that probably didn't help my image) while he vented and he eventually left when he realised his diatribe was falling on deaf ears, like a lover scorned. It was all I could do to keep a straight face.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I really don't think intelligent, educated people would consider becoming a police officer as a good career option- I think it shows, especially in Japan.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

@theresident

we are legally required to show our gaijin cards when questioned. i know, ive been here for almost 10yrs and spent plenty of time in roppongi! get your facts right.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

They just think that if you’re white you’re American, it’s educational ignorance at best.

That was true way, way back, when almost all white foreigners in Japan were Americans, and a common opening line was , 'Harro, watto stato are you from?'. These days Japanese people who don't know me often assume I'm either French or Scandinavian.

No, I don't know the link between France and Scandinavia, either.

 be VERY careful about showing off your Japanese ability to the police! It is better to stick to English as much as possible. Most foreigners here have an inflated sense of their Japanese level. Once the plod realize that you can speaka da language, they will just elevate the situation, speak more and more in difficult and legalistic ways, and try to catch you in a lie or mistake

If you think speaking Japanese is 'showing off' you probably are better off sticking with English.

It's a Bush League move to ever start speaking fluent Japanese with a J-cop. .....Sometimes it's better to check that ego.

Had to look up 'Bush League move'.

Speaking fluent Japanese in Japan is not egotistical, it's just normal. If speaking Japanese to Japanese people is an ego thing for you, you're probably not as fluent as you think you are.

You need balls to live in Japan

Never found the need to carry around a set of my own....

any foreigners claiming to have never been stopped and asked for ID either doesn't live in Japan or never leaves their home

Your daughter's experience is your daughters experience. My experience is different. I've lived in Japan a good bit longer than your daughter has been on this earth, get out and about quite a bit, and I have never been stopped and asked for ID. My two adult kids, both very Caucasian-looking, have never been stopped. My daughter is herself a cop and married to a cop.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

@Antiquesaving

As a citizen she does not need a Gaijin card of proof of being Japanese but both her brother and her are regularly stopped and have even been told they have to carry proof of citizenship, (which is blatantly false).

That happens to ハーフ people in Japan, people who do checking they the one who should apologize because they pick ハーフpeople based on their looks. What happened quite often the opposite, they ask these ハーフpeople to carry proof of citizenship. Which is not required by law at all. @diobrando show us how to ask whether something is really written or not.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cleo; under normal circumstances, I would agree with you. The default setting should be in Japanese when dealing with Japanese people. BUT...

...dealing with law enforcement is not normal. It is an imminent threat to your freedom. You will never be able to talk your way out of a police encounter, no matter how fluent you think you are. Rather, it will be used against you as another way the police try to find a reason to detain you. When you have 4 or 5 cops standing around you. all barking in local dialect from wherever they came from, best of luck. They are just waiting for you to slip up, contradict one thing you said earlier, and gather enough 'evidence' to take you to the station.

The less said (in either language) the better.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

That was true way, way back, when almost all white foreigners in Japan were Americans, and a common opening line was , 'Harro, watto stato are you from?'. These days Japanese people who don't know me often assume I'm either French or Scandinavian. 

That is assuming those people that question you are internationally exposed and had a lot of experience traveling and meeting people and interacting with them. But to get the constant “America-jin desu-ka” is just annoying because what is your definition of how an American look?. And the typical answer is, big nose, big blue eyes, tall, blonde….smh

It is very annoying to say the least. I could be born and raised in Japan, and speak Japanese native, but still I would be a foreigner.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Racial profiling actually works.

If a suspect is known to fit a certain description, age, gender, then the police would save time by checking people who match that description.

It's just politically incorrect in today's world to do so.

Exactly! Then why stop white people? lol

A few years ago I got a salaryman literally running away after he realized I was also standing there waiting to cross the street, it was around 10pm. I chuckled and started trying to imagine where else someone would run away at the sight of a white guy minding his business. Not on this planet!

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Question :

If you are stopped and controlled by the police in your own country, how will you call that ? Native profiling ?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

@FYI

Racial profiling actually works. If a suspect is known to fit a certain description, age, gender, then the police would save time by checking people who match that description.

If they do actual profiling like that, crime inside train in August can be avoided the problem is culprit always Japanese not foreigners, while they checking on foreigners until Embassy official post said the same thing.

https://japantoday.com/category/crime/man-arrested-in-train-stabbings-suffered-rejection-in-relationships

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@eastman

last time it happened to me at kansai airport,someone looks like salaryman came to me and asked me what is my status etc.i have asked who are you to take care about me?he said he is japanese police.i have said ok show me proof.than some message by radio and some 10 "cowboys" came from nowehere and asked me why i am impolite...again after routine check they have left without saying a single word.

They should showing proof of their identity whenever being asked instead being polite and showing that some of them just won't accept that, instead showing unfriendly attitude.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I have also never (to my knowledge) experienced Japanese not wanting to sit next to me on the train/bus as others have reported.Is it a particular type of foreigner that get's targeted?

Reading the comments I'd hazard to guess that the ones being targetted are the professionally outraged.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

cleoToday  01:23 pm JST

Your daughter's experience is your daughters experience. My experience is different. I've lived in Japan a good bit longer than your daughter has been on this earth, get out and about quite a bit, and I have never been stopped and asked for ID. My two adult kids, both very Caucasian-looking, have never been stopped. My daughter is herself a cop and married to a cop.

Usually I have much respect for your experience but on this I call it into question.

Your children raised in the country side, your years here and you never had to show your Gaijin card? Please! Yes I know admitting things are not perfect in Japan for some is difficult.

As my mixed children will point out admitting they are not seem as being fully Japanese isn't fun but it reality.

I and my children have seen plenty of foreigners and mixed in total denial until it becomes far to obvious to just ignore.

The fact the laws had to be changed to say asking a Japanese in an interview for a job or school if they are mixed is not permitted tells us a lot.

Yes they actually had to make it illegal to ask if someone is mixed for a school entrance or for job application, why because it meant discrimination and possibly not getting in the school or getting the job.

So it seems even the government is not as naive to think mixed are treated equally and anyone thinking a 100% foreigner is Treated and better is dreaming.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

That is assuming those people that question you are internationally exposed and had a lot of experience traveling and meeting people and interacting with them.

Not at all. Back in the day, virtually all the white gaijin one met in Japan (and most of the non-white ones) actually were Americans, so it was natural to assume any non-Japanese in Japan was American.

That hasn't been the case for a long time now, though. A very large proportion of non-Japanese in Japan are from all over the place. Japanese people don't necessarily need to have experience travelling overseas to interact with people from all over the world, especially in the cities.

what is your definition of how an American look?. And the typical answer is, big nose, big blue eyes, tall, blonde

I'll own up to the big blue eyes and blonde hair, throw in pale skin for good measure. But I'm definitely not tall, and I don't have a big nose, even by Japanese standards. I used to be taken for an American back when, but not once in the past I don't know how many years.

...dealing with law enforcement is not normal.

'Course it is. They're public servants, there to serve the public, including you and me, and protect us from all the scammers, drug pushers, bike thieves and other ne're-do-wells. Start acting weird and stammering in English and you'll naturally be taken for a plonker and treated accordingly.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

I wonder how this lawyer will collect such information.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I stupidly asked directions from one cop, already telling some other guy where someplace was.

I went up, got the information I was looking for, said Thanks, and was walking away, when the OTHER cop says: "PASSPORT"! ....what ?...huh...SHOW ME YOUR Passport ! I have NEVER been asked for ANYTHING on the street in twenty years, and this guy wants my passport....I was DETAINED until I had my friend go get it from her apartment...she had some fun with them herself.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Cleo, yes the police are public servants, but they are 'servants' with the power to lock you up for 23 days without a shred of evidence of any criminal wrongdoing. Servants with guns and handcuffs. It is NOT the same as dealing with the guy at the health insurance desk in City Hall.

They are also lazy. Bullying people into giving up their civil rights is not the way to go about policing the community. Fortunately for them, Japanese are generally docile and easily persuaded to 'take one for the team'.

I wonder what would happen if all people who get asked for ID simply refuse and say "I am a Japanese citizen" to the police? By law, Japanese do not have to carry ID, nor do they have to show any proof of their citizenship to law enforcement...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Interesting that Japan's own statistics point out that on a percentage basis the foreign population of Japan are less likely to commit a crime.

The statistics say that "the foreign population" means short stay foreigners, and the long time residence is included in "the Japanese" category.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

cleoToday  02:18 pm JST

...dealing with law enforcement is not normal.

'Course it is. They're public servants, there to serve the public, including you and me, and protect us from all the scammers, drug pushers, bike thieves and other ne're-do-wells. Start acting weird and stammering in English and you'll naturally be taken for a plonker and treated accordingly.

I see the blinders are on probably because your family are police.

Not here in Japan not in Canada, USA, UK France, Germany, China, Korean, and in any place you want, is dealing with law enforcement a "normal" situation and especially in Japan where they can detain you for 23 days without ever giving you a reason, can interrogate you without a lawyer at any time of the day or night, etc...

I wouldn't even give the police the correct time back home unless it was a very special situation.

The less said the less problems. If they ask for my Gaijin card by law I give it to them, if they ask my name I point to the card, address the same if they ask if I speak Japanese or English I don't react, answer only very rarely and very carefully, choosing each word wisely if needed and in my native French.

In no universe of reality is dealing with law enforcement a normal situation!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

If they ask for my Gaijin card by law I give it to them, if they ask my name I point to the card, address the same if they ask if I speak Japanese or English I don't react, answer only very rarely and very carefully, choosing each word wisely if needed and in my native French.

Although if you've responded correctly to the questions they've asked in Japanese, they know you understand it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Living in Tokyo probably means you are more likely to be asked for Id.

Why do people assume the big city will be where one gets stopped more.

In 30 plus years it has actually been in small countryside towns not used to seing gaijins that I and my mixed children have been stopped, Shikoku, Kyushu, and the worst place Nagoya.

Tokyo, Osaka the police are used to seeing people of all types.

The last time I went to Shikoku, I got off the train in some small station heading for a business meeting and within 5 minutes of walking I was surrounded by 3 cops on scooters asking me what I was doing there!

I think some forget that in their little world they are known so no longer get stopped, not the same for those not in that zone for decades.

I live in shitamachi Tokyo, for 28 years in the same location, my first few years I was stopped regularly as fee foreigners ventured into the area but after a while I knew everyone including the police.

2 years ago I moved to a different shitamachi area and if I am out walking late at night this nosy neighbours will call the police to report some white guy walking around.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

My all time favorite excuse was being stopped for looking like I was listening to music whilst cycling, which I wasnt.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The statistics say that "the foreign population" means short stay foreigners, and the long time residence is included in "the Japanese" category.

Nice try!

No Japanese citizen and non Japanese citizen.

You are trying to claim they count the special PR as Japanese.

Please don't even try that one!

Special PR, PR, Visa holders are all counted as foreigners and as such their crimes are also counted as different.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

zichiToday  02:31 pm JST

I have been asked which state I come from. I guess since also America occupied the country.

Is this unusual? You wrote that both your parents are Americans.

It would appear that whoever asked you which state you are from was very perceptive.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Asked about the message, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference Dec 6 that Japanese police approach suspicious people in accordance with the law, such as when they have reasonable grounds to suspect someone has committed a crime, and that questioning is not carried out based on race or nationality.

Mr Matsuno obviously fails to remember that foreigners can be Asked for ID for any time and Japanese do not-when he refers to ‘people’ he is not referring to non Japanese.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Living in Japan since 2006. I have travel frequently by car or motor bike and for Long distances. I do not travel in Kanto unless I need to go there and than its by train only.

I have only been stopped twice both times on my motor bike and not once in my car. Once was in Kyoto Fushimiku for running a stop sign I was not aware of and another time I was going a little over the speed limit on 8号線in Ishikawa between Komatsu and Hakusan Shi in Ishikawa near Kanazawa. Both times I spoke to the police officer using fluent Japanese. I was only asked for Japanese Drivers License and I was never once asked for any foreign ID or passport if I would have, I would have gladly provided my Zairyou Kado. I do travel to Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Kobe, Otsu, Gifu, Takayama, Fukui, Toyama, Nagano, and Matsusmoto frequently by car or Motor Bike many times a year including this year and last year for both business research and travel. I also travel to Tohoku twice a year to visit my wifes family.

What I am reading in these comments this is probably a Tokyo, Kanto, Inner city problem and probably does also occur in Osaka too, which is a shame but from my experience and frequent travels, there is usually a valid reason why the police stop you in Japan, a traffic Violation.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

zichiToday  03:14 pm JST

I doubt very much Japanese would know that my parents were American.

Japanese generalize and think all Westerners are American, because they look similar.

Probably more to do with your occupation of the country and the presence of 50,000 troops and their families and 60,000 American civilians.

No, probably because both your parents are American, so you naturally look American.

Compared to us Brits we only number about 15,000. But people do seem pleased when I say I'm a Brit. probably something to do with having royal families.

I have told people I am from San Marino, and they seem pleased.

You haven't posted your own experience. Have you been stopped and asked for your ID?

Was discussing British politics on other articles.

Yep, stopped once, didn't have my ID, they asked my address, work and so forth, then scrammed. And the police in Minato-ku have many English speakers.

What do you answer when people ask you which state you are from?

I ask them which is their favorite state.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I have been stopped occasially, but when asked they have always been able to give me a reason (for example, looking like loitering (fura fura) is a valid reason to stop and search someone). It seems like a pretty broad rule with a lot of room for interpretation, but it is what it is. And I have also seen them stop locals, so I can not really confirm that they are specifically selecting gaijing. Maybe some officers do, but that would be their personal choice.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Your children raised in the country side, your years here and you never had to show your Gaijin card?

Only as ID when other folk are naturally showing driving licenses, medical cards, etc. Never been stopped by police and asked for ID of any kind.

it seems even the government is not as naive to think mixed are treated equally

The topic is being stopped by the police for being GIP (gaijin in public), not petty ignorance by Taro Average, whose counterparts can be found the world over.

the blinders are on probably because your family are police.

No blinders here. If I had problems with the police before she became a cop, I would hardly have encouraged her, would I? And if she had experienced grief at the hands of the police, why would she consider becoming a cop in the first place?

 It is NOT the same as dealing with the guy at the health insurance desk in City Hall.

In my experience, it's exactly the same. Actually, no it isn't. The police tend to be more competent than the folk in the yakuba (We're not big enough to have a City Hall), but both do their best to be helpful if you're normally polite and don't go off refusing to speak and acting shifty.

The less said the less problems. If they ask for my Gaijin card by law I give it to them, if they ask my name I point to the card, address the same if they ask if I speak Japanese or English I don't react, answer only very rarely and very carefully, choosing each word wisely if needed and in my native French.

In no universe of reality is dealing with law enforcement a normal situation!

Well obviously in your universe, you get treated funny by the police because you apparently act funny and you go out of your way to make it an abnormal situation. You probably come across as very shifty, with your pointing and refusal to speak normally. In the TV dramas, it's always the baddies who choose their words carefully and refuse to cooperate.

You reap what you sow?

-7 ( +3 / -10 )

Personally, it doesn’t bother me, they ask, I show them, they’re happy and I can go and be on my way and it took less than 5 min. Do I think it’s right? I don’t, but this is their country and for all the moaning and complaining it’s not going to change the system or their paranoia and outlook at least for a very long time.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

What I am reading in these comments this is probably a Tokyo, Kanto, Inner city problem and probably does also occur in Osaka too, which is a shame but from my experience and frequent travels, there is usually a valid reason why the police stop you in Japan, a traffic Violation.

Guess you missed the part where I pointed out Tokyo, Osaka, are big cities quite used to foreigners.

I and my mixed children are more often stopped in smaller cities and towns where they rarely see non Japanese or even mixed people.

My son is a performer and travels across Japan, he is the representative character for a certain product, is on TV weekly and has to do live shows all over Japan.

He despises going anywhere near Nagoya, knows all to well the problems to expect in staying in small cities and towns.

He has no such worries when working in Osaka or Tokyo.

Remember he is a Japanese citizen and if you have pre school or primary school children, chances are they know him.

But even he will regularly be stopped for a Gaijin card that as a citizen he does not have!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

No blinders here. If I had problems with the police before she became a cop, I would hardly have encouraged her, would I? And if she had experienced grief at the hands of the police, why would she consider becoming a cop in the first place?

For the reason many black people and Native American join the police back in Canada and the USA, in order to make a change and improve from the inside.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

My son is a performer and travels across Japan, he is the representative character for a certain product, is on TV weekly and has to do live shows all over Japan.

I guess the police don't watch TV, then.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Cleo, the situation under discussion is made abnormal by the POLICE, not the innocent person. There is no reason for police to go about checking peoples' identification or searching their personal possessions without specific information. "A foreigner was seen....." is not any kind of reason to treat people as guilty until proven innocent. In most cases it is BS anyway, just a flimsy excuse to violate peoples' privacy. Particularly, warrantless searches are unforgivable and there really needs to be more accountability for those officers who do it.

The police are the ones 'acting funny', and there is no reason for anyone to let them get away with it. Treating it like a normal interaction, joking along, chatting away, all will only reinforce the initial bad behavior on the part of the police.

I have had many positive interactions with police in Japan, don't get me wrong. But the ones who go on this kind of bogus hunting mission are the bad apples that spoil it for the good ones. Japanese would not put up with it, so why should we?

3 ( +5 / -2 )

RiskyMosaicToday  03:51 pm JST

I guess the police don't watch TV, then.

Well if they are home very early morning and are more likely a mother watching TV with their pre schoolers they may recognise him.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

A lot of one-upmanship here (off-topic).

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I haven't been stopped by the police in a while now but over the past two and a half decades I have been stopped a few dozen times. I used to live in a sort-of rundown area in Saitama I would walk to from Nishi-Kawaguchi station and would get stopped all the time but I have been stopped across Saitama and Tokyo.

The funny thing is I am Japanese, I just look foreign. The police almost always took me at my word when I told them this, though. Once in a blue moon I have someone not believe me but my tax "My Number" or health insurance cards have been enough since I don't usually carry my Japanese passport with me.

The checks were far more frequent for me a decade ago but once in a while I still get stopped. My eyes are not good so who knows, it might look like my wide stares or weird squinting sets them off.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Cleo; as an aside, regarding showing ID... in situations where Japanese need to show a driver's licence, health card, and the like, you can do the same. No need for the guy at the post office or video rental place to demand your alien reg. card. In non-law enforcement situations, the rules are the same for citizens and non-citizens. You are free to use it if you like, but there is no obligation.

When I joined a sports club, the staff wanted to make a copy of my (at the time) gaijin card. I refused of course and asked if they would ask a Japanese person for their card (which of course they do not have) or passport. "Of course not!", they were aghast at the very thought of doing such a thing to a member of the Japanese race. So I gave them my driver's licence and they were satisfied, and slightly abashed.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Well if they are home very early morning and are more likely a mother watching TV with their pre schoolers they may recognise him.

Sexist. And cops work irregular hours. Yeah they may recognise him and then, according to you, racially profile him on the street. Your nationally recognised son seems to get stopped by the police more than I do. Maybe they just want a selfie.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

zichiToday  04:17 pm JST

Yes you are correct but the regulation is strange and only certain groups are permitted to copy the information on the "My number" down, I am guessing police are permitted to copy the information.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

But even he will regularly be stopped for a Gaijin card that as a citizen he does not have!

What's 'more likely' about that?

Tell me, do you know which characters are presently popular with the pre school crowd?

I was a single father an I couldn't have told you or anyone else which TV show characters my 2 were interested in.

I'm married with kids and can tell you exactly who my pre-schooler enjoys watching.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

AFAIK, the My Number Card does not contain your immigration status or visa expiry date. So it is not useful to the police in determining if you are illegally in Japan. Hence the demand for the Zairyu Card or passport. I am quite sure you are not required to show your My Number to the police at any time. I never carry it (My Number)- it sits at home until tax time when I need it to do my income tax filing.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What's 'more likely' about that?

Sorry, I misread the comment. My mistake.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@BertSmithson:: Get what facts right? I always carry my Resident Card with me, I am well aware it’s a legal requirement. Wouldn’t leave home without it, and when it is being renewed You should demand a letter from Immigration that this is the case and carry that with you.

Thanks for top tip as always

0 ( +1 / -1 )

zichiToday  04:47 pm JST

What I read is that the "My Number" is now an acceptable form of ID for foreigners. I always have it with me and my Residents Card. I never said you have to show it. I said I think it is now a form of ID.

And at hotels and other places you can use it for ID.]

Can't remember what town/city website I read it on, somewhere in Shikoku maybe, but the 'My number' card was being touted as a replacement for the Zairyu card.

But I think because of the low uptake rate (26% in March) they haven't really added many functions to the card- Good on the Japanese for ignoring the subterfuge of the magical 'My number' card which popped up after the governments attempts to introduce a national ID card floundered.

It has a chip in, so it probably contains more information than you know- time for an RFID blocking wallet.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Zichi; as a resident of Japan you do not have to show any ID when checking in to a hotel. Just write your address and phone number (same as a Japanese citizen) and have a proof of payment. Again, lazy police often ask hotels to photocopy the ID of ALL foreign guests, but this is not a legal requirement.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So, how do foreigners who gave up their original nationality to become a citizen of Japan handle stops in Japan?

If that person is of African or European descent then obviously they will look different. They do not need or no longer have a Zairyu card, nor are the required to carry their Japanese passport at all times.

What do the police do in these situations?

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Japanese police is just the front window of the japanese mindset.

I've be asked to show my bag by several shop owners when other japanese customers when in and out freely.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Let's also see what these lawyers are going to do about Japanese people (in particular men) sucking their teeth or pretending to cough when they walk past a foreigner.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Police cannot search your person, property or possessions without a warrant. Ask for one: “Reijou ga arimasu ka?”

If they threaten to take you to a Koban or police station for questioning, refuse and don’t move. Police cannot force you to go anywhere without a formal arrest (taiho). Once you're inside the Koban or station your rights pretty much vanish.

But be careful. Do not raise your voice. And never ever touch the cop, or they could arrest you for “obstruction of duty.” This is why sometimes you see street standoffs between cops and questionees during which nobody moves or talks until somebody gets tired and goes home.

More useful info:

http://www.debito.org/GcardLAWS2.pdf

http://www.debito.org/instantcheckpoints2.html

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Numan, that is the Catch-22 that nobody can answer. How does a naturalized citizen (or a child of a mixed race marriage) prove that they are Japanese, when the law says that Japanese don't need to carry ID or prove anything to the police?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

More "What to do if" advice..

http://www.debito.org/whattodoif.html#arrested

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Antiquesaving Again I am in my pajamas key in hand and he saw me come out of the building. No refused to let me ring the doorbell, he called for a police car and they took me to the station where once there they called my house told my wife to bring my Gaijin card to the police station. Oh yes I told them my daughter was sick. My wife took my sick daughter and my then 1 month old son by taxi to the police station to show my Gaijin card.

They expect to get more information from you and your wife in their station, while trying to make you feel guilty and expect to give you lecture, why that card important. They just think that you and your wife will just apologize at the end.

What did happened really opposite what they expected.

She was in a very bad mood calling the police names I had never heard Japanese use before.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@numan

If that person is of African or European descent then obviously they will look different. They do not need or no longer have a Zairyu card, nor are the required to carry their Japanese passport at all times.

What do the police do in these situations?

They'll do the same, they don't care whether that person Japanese that look like foreigners or even foreigners they'll stop them.

https://www.jowhar.com/news/japanese-police-admit-that-he-was-looking-for-a-black-man-because-of-his-dreadlocks.html

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Very interesting on two fronts, comments and the story itself. I did not know this was a thing. I have had no bad experiences with Japanese police nor have I ever been searched randomly. I have found the Japanese police to very professional and kind. And I have been in Japan nearly three decades.

Now, if I was not a white American Caucasian male driving high status car on not in a business suite which I am most of the time. Maybe the situation would be a bit different. Look on the bright side. You do not see Japanese law enforcement randomly shooting people like they do in a merica.....

"and the long haired freaky people need not apply".

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

I think all we want to know is :

What is the criteria the police are using to stop foreign people and asking for identification indiscriminately?

I remember a time when I just landed at KIX (Osaka) Airport after a 12+ hour ordeal. (Actually, it was nice. Changi Airport is a nice place to wait for the next flight.)

I had to chaperon a student for a 3-month stay in New Zealand in order to insure that the homestay parents are worthy to host a female Japanese student.)

When I arrived at KIX and exited, an undercover police flashes his badge and apologized to me. He told be he was just doing his job.

I asked, “Why have you decided to asked me for identification? I went through passport control. They searched my luggage. If there were any red flags about me, they would not have let me out the exit. I just want to go home and see my family."

He replied, “I'm just doing my job."

I have lived in Japan for over 30 years. That incident still stays in my mind.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Very interesting on two fronts, comments and the story itself. I did not know this was a thing

It is a thing for years, otherwise embassy and lawyer won't interested about this.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/us-embassy-tokyo-warns-foreigners-suspected-racial-profiling/story?id=81720091

2 ( +2 / -0 )

He replied, “I'm just doing my job."

What is his job, profiling?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

MasamuneToday  06:34 pm JST

I had a similar experience.

I was with a group of business people arriving from Tokyo into Miyazaki airport.

Everyone was Japanese except me, a chartered bus was waiting for our group.

I exited the airport doors with all the rest and this guy gets in my face demanding to see my passport!

Says he is the police flashes a Japanese only booklet.

As I always do I act as if I don't speak Japanese.

One of the leaders of our group checked the police ID, and says ok he really is the police.

So I give him my Gaijin card, he starts yelling he said passport.

The Japanese are now all waiting for me so the bus can leave to our hotel.

The leader explains I don't need a passport to travel domestically as long as I have my Gaijin card.

This cops is now saying he is not letting me go and taking me in because I don't have my passport.

Unfortunately for him the group I was with was part of a very powerful business in the prefecture and phone calls were made and suddenly this guy was told he was wanted on the phone.

He never returned, anith uniformed officers came to tell us I could go.

That was one of the strangest stops I have ever had.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@Zichi

@0re0

@Attilathehungry

MyNumber is (originally) just that, a "number" for administrative purposes. The photo is there to clearly identify you (the holder) as the person whose number it is. MN does not replace the zairyu-card which remains the only permitted "foreigner card" as it features the allowed period of stay.

Concerning MN replacing the zairyu-card, one can only expect this to become a topic but truth be told, the J-gov does not care about foreigners and is currently only pushing for the locals to use it. I would therefore expect foreigners to come dead last in the MN-rollout...

Depending on what the J-cops are after (and I would guess visa-overstayers) MN will be of absolutely no use to them (at least until the zairyu-card ties into MN).

In a nutshell, MN is about dealings with official/public administrations (e.g. pension, healthcare, taxes). At least that was the initial idea…(unfortunately, much more on this below…)

I guess you can provide your MN for identification purposes to a private operator (e.g. to a hotel), but nobody is allowed to require you to do so as it was never the card’s intent to start with. If a private operator asks you to do so, on the contrary, I would be worried and would refuse to do so. If as a foreigner any ID is required, it should be the zairyu card or a passport. On a side-note, as a resident I do not believe I ever encountered that kind of requirement so far...??

Furthermore, I would strongly advise against walking around with both zairyu and MN-cards. There have been a few cases of zairyu, social security and MN-card forging rings getting busted in the news recently. If one can create fake cards from scratch, one can only assume that “tweaking” somebody’s real cards into somebody else’s cards is not out of reach anymore.

One has to consider 3 periods over pretty much the last 20 years when it comes to the “individual number”-scheme in Japan. 

Period 1 being the Juki (Juminkihondaicho 住民基本台帳)-phase which failed miserably and lead to a second attempt at doing exactly the same thing with MN.

Period 2: initially, MN was supposed to be a very important and very "private" number that was only to be shared with official / public counterparties (e.g. shiyakusho, kuyakusho to access various administrative services such as: pension, healthcare, tax-filing, etc) to facilitate access to these services and make their processing more efficient (no DX/dejitaru-dingbat or anything else along these lines involved or even hinted at back then). 

Period 3A: the J-gov started rambling about linking MN to bank accounts (while initially only tax-declarations as “administrative processes” were covered by the scheme). 

Exception made of very specific situations such as having a securities accounts or doing transactions involving virtual currency or sending/receiving money to/from abroad, this has not yet happened and banks just ask for “cooperation” by providing the number but neither are under no legal requirements to obtain your MN, nor are clients obliged to provide their MN for any routine/vanilla situations/transactions. I strongly suspect that banks are, on the contrary, lobbying against MN...

Funnily enough, it seems that while one is obliged to provide one's MN when filing a tax-declaration, as the tax-administration is prohibited from refusing submission of a tax-declaration, a declarant can in practice submit a tax-declaration...even without a MN...(if true, this would be a very messy loophole...)

Period 3B: the J-gov started rambling about use MN as a social security card with, of course the possibility/need to then show it to hospitals, general practicians, pharmacies, drug-stores or anybody with even remote simili-medical credentials. 

Currently MN is indeed allowed for use as a social security card but less than 10% of all medical facilities provide for using it, making it basically a non-topic as users would need to search for facilities where they can actually use the card. Hence they use their normal social security card instead. 2 main reasons for this situation: (1) the medical profession does neither trust nor wants to deal with MN and (2) has their hands full with the pandemic.

Period 3C: around period 3B did the J-gov also start to look at using it as a driver's license in which case one would ultimately need to show it to the J-cops (still, not for visa purposes), car rentals, garages, etc. This has not yet happened.

Period 3D: the (recent) obsession of the J-gov to push "digitalization" and trying to sell MN as the “backbone” (which it never was) of the digitalization-effort (whatever that ultimately means) and IT-service providers jumping on the bandwagon and "offering" to use MN as a means for online-service identification (with initially private companies never even covered by MN). How MN is going to tie into anything “publicly dejitaru” still remains to be seen (or explained for that matters)…

As one can see from the above, as far the concept of a "private" ID-number limited to only administrative purposes and dealings goes, it is on the contrary getting increasingly difficult to find a sector/profession/industry which is not trying to have a peek at your oh-so-private-and-individual card, this with the blessing of a government desperate to push for use of its (failed) scheme with, unfortunately, security taking a backseat and remaining a complete non-topic to both government / administration and private companies thus making leakages more and more likely…(The government already leaking close to 6 Mio MN-data most likely to be the proverbial tip of the iceberg...)

Funs and frolics ahead...

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GOOD NEWS for all, Japanese and foreigners as well.

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