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'Nippon Civilian Police' skirts a fine line between vigilance and vigilantism

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For dealing with certain matters where the police can't -- or won't -- take action, there's a new sheriff in town.

Writing in Jitsuwa Knuckles (October), a monthly magazine specializing in Japan's subculture, Yuri Suzuki introduces the Zen-Nippon Minkan Keisatsu, which goes by the English name Nippon Civilian Police (NCP).

NCP's founder, Shuichi Araki, previously lived in the United States and claims to be the only Japanese national ever licensed to work there as a bounty hunter. Araki explains that NCP, which he established in 2006, is a "civilian police organization" accorded legal recognition by the government.

Araki's operation currently employs about 70 "troops," who work out of branches in Tokyo, Osaka and other cities. A photo accompanying the article shows a back view of an NCP member in a distinctive field jacket, carrying a riot baton in one hand and a pair of handcuffs in the other.

"NCP is completely different from both private security firms and volunteer street patrol groups," he tells Jitsuwa Knuckles. "Some of our members are out on the street every day to safeguard citizens' safety. Our main function is to perform tasks that the police, as a public entity, are unable to do. But we're not subordinate to the Tokyo MPD -- we're completely separate."

Araki stresses that NCP was set up with the full blessing of MPD headquarters, owing largely to his overseas-acquired knowhow in tracking down fugitives. Another reason, he says, is because police are legally hamstrung from performing stings and other types of undercover operations and are receptive to assistance from NCP.

One NCP member, identified only as "G," operates incognito out of a shop in a drinking area.

"It's hard to generalize the type of cases I've handled, which have ranged from fraud to missing persons to tracking fugitives," says G. "We get scuttlebutt from a network of bars in entertainment districts, not only here in Tokyo but from Hokkaido to Okinawa."

When NCP operatives assist in apprehensions, they are entitled to receive relatively small (50,000 yen) cash rewards offered by the police.

"There are lots of tasks the police are unable to deal with," G points out. "Some, they will delegate to us. I can't go into detail, but some cases may skirt the boundaries of legality. For example, at our discretion we might tie up with IT or communications companies to conduct investigations that the government is not empowered to do. Without taking such measures, there would be no way to catch the perpetrators in the act."

But "G" admits that setting up a sting can, in worst cases, also result in getting stung in return. "As it stands, you might even get killed. But that's the way it is," he shrugs fatalistically.

According to Araki, activities of private securities firms in Japan are governed by a specific law, but no law currently exists for civilian police, so he operates in a gray area. "For example, if we were to turn in a suspect who was later proved innocent, we could be vulnerable to legal action," he says. "We have to enforce self discipline on the one hand; at the same time, we are presently going through government channels to have our status taken up in the Diet."

"In the eyes of the citizens, Japan's police are unreliable and cannot be depended upon for protection, wouldn't you say?" Araki asserts. "Take incidents involving stalking, some of which are clearly criminal acts. The police won't do anything because they claim it's just too troublesome to intervene in what they insist are 'civil affairs.' We make a case for action by bridging civil affairs with criminal cases."

Araki believes Japan's young people, in particular, are inclined to feel outrage when injustices are perpetrated.

"NCP is hoping to recruit more determined young people," he says. "That’s why we've lowered our minimum age requirement from the present 18 years to 16."

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

56 Comments
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Great, police-sanctioned illegal wiretapping and use of underage teens in sting operations. Just what this country needs to combat crime.

But that's the way it is. "shrug"

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Even the police acknowledge they can't police efficiently i.e. tracking down fugitives. (Ichihashi)

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the last line of the article threw me off.

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I couldn't have put it better myself, sk4ek. And at the other end of the scale we have the bitter older guys who couldn't get into the police force and will become, as title says, 'Vigilante' bully boys.

But then the Japanese police are pretty good at being bully boys anyway, legally hamstrung or not.

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“NCP is hoping to recruit more determined young people,” he >says. “That’s why we’ve lowered our minimum age requirement from the >present 18 years to 16.”

Don't see how 16 year olds are going to be of any use besides working teenage street gangs and crimes.

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Don't see how 16 year olds are going to be of any use besides working teenage street gangs and crimes.

Well, they can use those batons they carry pretty good, no?

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This is a joke, right?? Sounds too funny to be true. A bunch of wanna-be`s running around arresting people and handling investiagtions. This is a recipe for a disaster in the making. Somebody is going to get their rights violated, false imprisonment/arrest, suffer injuries or worse because of a bunch of morons (mostly teenagers) running around pretending to be "undercover cops" with zero training or understanding of law.

So, this Araki character "employs" 70 people in a few cities...how do they get paid?? Off of reward money of 50,000yen..split how many times?? They want to hire kids to do "dangerous" field work?? How much do they get paid?? Probably not much...which is why they want to hire kids, because adults have the sense not to get mixed up in this kinda crap for low wages. Im willing to bet collecting cans for recycle pays more than what these "civilian cops" make.

Also, this Araki character claims he is the only Japanese licensed bounty hunter in America....its very easy to be bounty hunter in America....ex-cons and homeless people can be a bounty hunter in the states, with NO training or test....so thats not impressive. You could probably come to America as a tourist and apply for a license...just fill out the form and pay the fee..and presto..you are a cerified bounty hounter in America. Its that easy folks.

I really hope article this is a joke, because Japan is quickly turning into a freak show.

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This guy thinks he's Batman!!!!

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this is too funny!

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For example, at our discretion we might tie up with IT or communications companies to conduct investigations that the government is not empowered to do. Without taking such measures, there would be no way to catch the perpetrators in the act.

Huuh, now I am afraid enough to kill this account and post here only from my accounts made anonymous by TOR.

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So, next time you see a search light beam with a silhouette of Hello Kitty in it shining from the top of the MPD building, you'll know who they're calling.

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It's got to be a conspiracy by the Mossad. The Japanese are not smart enough to come up with Nippon Civilian Police on their own.

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Nippon Civilian Police

What a stupid name. Why not Japan Civilian Police? and why give it an "English" name in the first place??

This just seems to be a wanna-be tough-guy trying to get kids who've had too much Mei-tantei Conan and other childish Japanese kid-cop media thrown at them to join his group of pretentious fools.

Juts look at the top page of his website, http://www.bountyhunter-jp.com/index.html , and see how childish he is! Is he going to use that mini-gun chasing shop-lifting old women in Sugamo? If what's written on there isn't hilarious as it is, the photo page is amazing too, what a manchild!

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Juts look at the top page of his website, http://www.bountyhunter-jp.com/index.html , and see how childish he is! Is he going to use that mini-gun chasing shop-lifting old women in Sugamo? If what's written on there isn't hilarious as it is, the photo page is amazing too, what a manchild!

Saw the "bounty-hunter" website...what a laugh!! Hahahahaaa!!! Click "LAW" button...he thinks he lives in America. I can tell you this Mr. Araki...since you are not an American citizen...there is no way you can carry a concealed or holstered handgun in America without the proper licenses which Im pretty you Mr. Araki wouldnt be qualified for. This website is PURE FANTASY including all the misspellings. No way Mr. Araki was ever employed as a bounty hunter in America...he would be a major liability.

But now I know why he works in Japan...he is after glory and small time cash rewards by going after "soft-crime" criminals in Japan, rather than the big bucks running down dangerous and violent criminals in Americans. You wouldnt last a day in America tracking fugitives down Mr. Awesome-Japanese-Bounty-Hunter-wanna-be-an-F.B.I-agent. Running a slick webpage loaded with BS and stolen pictures is an good way to fool the Japanese public to gain some "credibility". I just hope people in Japan are not fooled into believeing this guy...maybe teenagers might believe this character. This is just ridiculous.

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BTW: Mr. Awesome-Japanese-Bounty-Hunter-wanna-be-an-F.B.I-agent in Japan...you need to update your website under "Wanted"..those escaped inmates from Arizona..they have been apprehended (that means, captured) a few weeks ago. Just giving you a heads up and all, as you`re sooo busy tracking down stolen bicycles and umbrella thieves.

Oh, BTW: Your little plastic badge on the wanted page, "Bounty Hunter Shuichi Kamikaze Araki, National Association of Law Enforcement Explorers".....

For your information, the "National Association of Law Enforcement Explorers" is a worksite-based program for young men and women who have completed the eighth grade and are 14 years of age, or are 15 years of age but have not yet reached their 21st birthday. Just looking at your photos, Im guessing you are not under the age of 21. Just wanted to let you know your badge looks totally BOGUS.

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Had a look at the website...it's rather sad.

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Araki stresses that NCP was set up with the full blessing of MPD headquarters, owing largely to his overseas-acquired knowhow in tracking down fugitives.

Okay, does anybody see a sterling record of fugitive apprehension on his web page? I'm guessing if you ask the MPD you'll get a different story.

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Oh, and his "Plofile" is just stunning, isn't it?

"Samurai Intelligence Agent" oooooh, scary stereotypical naming!

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What a self-important, childish tosser.

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It's telling that he wants to recruit from amongst the ranks of the "outraged".

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I can't help but think that this will attract the lunatic fringe, those who hate foreigners, those who assume that everyone with a tattoo is a criminal, etc.

... of course I'd be more worried if they started recruiting obaa-chans... Japanese old women have elbows of steel and a questionable sense of justice, especially if there's free food involved.

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Had a look at the websire and me and the missus had a right giggle. Lots of photos of a camp looking chap who seems ti enjoy wearing leather trousers. He calls himself Bounty Hunter, and i can also think of a few words to call him, but they would be removed.

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Juts look at the top page of his website, http://www.bountyhunter-jp.com/index.html , and see how childish he is!

Is he really running around with guns as his homepage claims?

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Well these guys have already failed. Did they catch Ishikawa or whatever his name is that killed Linday Hawker? Its all just rouse. Jitsuwa Knuckles is a tabloid like the Star or SUN. Dont get pulled into it. A bounty hunter with US credentials? Sounds like a screenplay or a manga storyboard. Well good on him if he actually aids in catching perps, but he wouldn't last 2 seconds with the Guardian Angels in NY. Its a goof organization. Lowering the age to 16 really sounds to me like its for a comic book.

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The homepage has his "PLOFILE" Then the logo also should say "Fugitive Lecovely Agent"

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But they already have the " Guardian Angels " Nippon Chapter

As long as they don't bother me, ask me for id and passport. Everything is ok. As long as they go after ONLY NIHONJIN CRIMINAL TYPES. I don't see anything wrong with this.

CLEAN UP SHIBUYA & "ROPPONGI Hahahaha !!!! they will get they're arse kicked inside & out !!!

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this guy is my hero, he's aces in my book, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

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goofs who like to play secret agent. Where I used to live there were these guardian angel types who didn't do anything other than tell people to walk their bikes through the shopping arcade. Most people ignored them.

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One NCP member, identified only as “G,” operates incognito out of a shop in a drinking area.

That's just saying he's a drunk, come on!

Anyone involved with this moon-faced manchild must be either drunk, or impaired in some other way.

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looked at his blog. what a joke. the poor guy, we should feel sorry for him as long as he doesn`t bother us.

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Looks like the yaks started their own police force. This guy works off a dodgy server at www.secret.jp. I have forwarded his information to Interpol to see if he is wanted for anything. I am sure there are some law violations for misrepresenting himself, and using fraudulent US credentials.

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I think Mr Araki is from a wealthy family, hard to see how he makes a living from this. I'm not sure a bounty hunter would post so much personal information on the internet.

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Wow. Talk about being as vague as absolutely possible about what this guy, er, this organization actually does...

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And people wonder how corruption and repression start. Here is is people. Some self important twit with a god complex hiring 16 year olds to do law enforcement related work. Does the term "Brown Shirts" mean anything to you?

All you need is for these guys to end up on the side of some political entity and you have storm troopers in the streets. Outside the law and governed by grey regulations.

Japan does not need fools like this becoming unwarranted powers in society. Japan needs to get these twit cops off their fat behinds and teach them to do their bloody jobs!

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Supa Sentai! Another TV Show celebrity in the making. Probably will get CM's for oishi sake.

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I'm all for reducing crime, lets hope he actually does real work instead of posing for photos on his website. Can see alot of wanna be cops attemping to arrest people for being noisy or targeting foreigners or tatoos as people pointed out.

They have no rights to detain people so I seriously hope they dont try to overstep their tiny line in the sand.

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well, he's right about the japanese police being unreliable and undependable for protection but...

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Fits somewhere between John Walsh and Dog (and his gorgeous wife) from Hawaii.

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Mr. Araki exemplifies the mindless conformity and narcissism that is typical of 21st century humans. He desires respect, and to obtain it sets up a sham organisation and surrounds himself with alienated flunkies. It's happening in the US with Glenn Beck, only on a much larger scale thanks to the ubiquity of cable television.

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I think he smoked too much of the crack he recovered from American Fugitives while working the hood. Is that a photo of him arresting a black guy in a wheelchair?? What a loon. I suggest that if anyone ever comes across this guy anywhere...shoot first.

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Well, obviously, the police are too bust checking bicycle registrations, taking photos of parked cars and setting radar traps on straight dual lane roads to build up their monthly revenue. So someone has to do the 'actual' policing.

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But we’re not subordinate to the Tokyo MPD—we’re completely separate.”

Right. And my friend's eikaiwa school isn't subordinate to Tokyo University- It's completely separate. And your point is...?

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Is that a photo of him arresting a black guy in a wheelchair?? What a loon.

LOL!

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NCP’s founder, Shuichi Araki, previously lived in the United States and claims to be the only Japanese national ever licensed to work there as a bounty hunter.

Aww, there goes my husband's back-up plan, hahahaha.

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If you have a problem. If no one else can help. And if you can find them, maybe you can hire... The Araki-Team.

Come on folks this has to be a publicity stunt for his upcoming movie. Araki: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Nippon!

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Wow! Japan's own version of the Hitler Youth! I'll bet they drive around in black vans too. I can't wait for them to mess with the wrong person (i.e. a pissed foreigner). I'd love to see a picture of him with his cool logo jacket, cuffed to a tree with the baton shoved up his a$$. These guys are by their own admission operating outside the law so they have absolutely no legal authority whatsoever.

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I like mini-skirt police more.

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Funny. Except if you think of what this could turn in to. Half the right wing organizations will probably form their own I love Nippon Civilian Police Forces. I have visions of over zealous 16 year old "police" violently apprehending the nasty gaijin and anyone else they want to harass. Gov Ishihara is no doubt pleased with the development. So it's a cute story to laugh about but, what could it turn into?

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This vigilante group most be aligned with a larger organization to pay for all these activities. How am I suppose to trust that a 16 year-old child can make a rational decision without prejudice or emotion? Say they want to detain me but I don't agree. Can I sue them for assault? If I feel threatened by them and choose to defend myself, am I allowed to fight back?

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They take care of the people with a death wish.

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NCP’s founder, Shuichi Araki, previously lived in the United States and claims to be the only Japanese national ever licensed to work there as a bounty hunter.

Is this suppose to impress people?

This must be some type of joke website: (http://www.bountyhunter-jp.com/index.html) Who would willingly put up pictures like these? i love the one with him holding the American flag to his chest. What message are we meant to read from that? He looks like another American wanna-be tough guy.

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I would pay to watch him and his team take on the Nigerians in Roppongi.

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This souns very Orwellian to me. I dont like it. In the pre-war days, and also during the Secon World War, Japan had "Thought Police." Neighbours spied on their neighbours, and reported everything to the police. That system is the basis for the Japanese "chonaikai" system in the present day. Basically, it is used to keep everyone in subjection and make sure no-one strays from the group ethos. That is one of the reasons japan is the mess it is. This "Nippon Civilian Police" idea is a bad one.

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there are a lot of pseudo civil society citizens groups popping up in the great recession, which is something of a curiosity in itself. groups like the tea party in america have financial and other forms of backing, they are not grass roots. the attempt to preempt true grass roots movements from developing by starting some fake national movement. though they portray themselves as volunteers and appeal to public spiritedness, it is a ruse to call for a devolution of such functions from the state to such private organizations.

secret societies like the Freemasons active behind the scenes? where do they get the money to pay 70 people?

in japan, on the other hand, the problem of the yakuza, the largest criminal organizations on the planet, is a particular case. though there aren't many firearms, like in the united states, these groups have a quasi religious, feudalistic mentality, and are strategically organized against society at large, and are not simply individuals trying to get by. how do you account for the "It's me" telephone call fraud phenomenon? maybe it's not a bad thing if this group is halting those kinds of crimes, which are essentially sociopathic in that they prey on a societal norm.

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Well as they admit, as long as they aren't turning in innocent people it sounds like they're doing typical bounty hunter work just in Japan. I.e. bringing in people who have outstanding warrants and on the run. It's another thing if they're enforcing the law arbitrarily or going after the wrong guy. I see this turning ugly though if as the article implies they're really just a backdoor for the police to break the law.

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Being a vigilante alone... that's absolute for me... but a vigilante group that is operated by a wannabe-police-bounty hunter? To top it up, it really sounds pervasive in freedoms and rights...(Orwellian) as the preceding times have proven...

It needs to really come to it's senses... I hope that in the future, Japan will place individuality and freedom also as a norm.

Forget about the excuses that they say "it is a cultural thing", (sorry if i will offend people) in my opinion, it is a disheartening and seclusive state of mind we are currently having. In fact, it is to the contrary of "harmony" as what Confucius teaches. Others here have already stated...

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