lifestyle

A roundup of Japan’s police vehicle fleet

21 Comments
By Dino Dalle Carbonare

Imagine seeing a Nissan Skyline GT-R closing in on your rearview mirror, red lights ablaze. Packing a straight-six twin-turbo engine, this beast is one surefire way to get you to behave. Who in their right mind would go over the 100km/h speed limit knowing such fully accessorized monsters are lurking, looking for their next victim?

Ever since the early ’90s, domestic manufacturers have churned out a string of affordable sports cars, ranging from your average Subaru Impreza WRX to the top-of-the-line Honda NSX. And Japanese police departments have wasted no time buying them up — effectively creating a fleet of super patoka.

Luckily for urban drivers, the speediest vehicles are used mostly to cruise the highways. On city streets, the police deploy more run-of-the-mill models. The Toyota Crown is probably the one everyone is most familiar with—a big, Japan-only four-door sedan packing, in the latest model, a 3.5-liter V6. Black-and-white Nissan Crews, which like Crowns are also commonly used by taxi companies, are another regular sight in central Tokyo.

Helping the feared parking police squeeze through the tighter alleys of the capital are vehicles like the yellow-plated Daihatsu Mira kei-jidosha, which within the blink of an eye can dispatch four ticket-book-equipped policewomen ready to chalk your tires.

The two-wheeled approach to policing is also very common. Official vehicles range from the squeaky pushbikes, equipped with the latest in umbrella-holding technology, all the way to the top-of-the-line Honda VFR800P "shiro-bai" — one of the most tactical weapons thanks to its compact (easily concealed) size.

The best way to get a glimpse of these and other cars is at one of the yearly inspection parades put on by regional departments. In search of the latest and greatest, we attended one recently put on by the Chiba Prefectural Police at Makuhari Messe.

On top of the dozens of "shiro-bai" driving in formation, we spotted a few undercover cars, including the brand new Toyota Crown Majesta and the Subaru Legacy B4 turbo, both stealthily deployed on the Higashi-Kanto Expressway. There was also the massive Isuzu Giga armored bus, used to transport riot police and prisoners. At the other end of the scale were the hybrid Toyota Estima and the frugal, futuristically styled Mitsubishi i.

The sheer variety of vehicles attracts some pretty hardcore "otaku" who fanatically attend every one of these parades with their cameras documenting the rarer machinery on display.

For more information on future parades, keep an eye on the websites of your area’s police websites. Or push the pedal to the metal, and roll the dice — you may earn yourself a real close look.

This story originally appeared in Metropolis magazine (www.metropolis.co.jp).

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.


21 Comments
Login to comment

GTR cop car. Damn thats awesome

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the squeaky bicycle and overweight popo spilling over the sides is a far more common sight

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Next headline "GTR cop car destroyed in car chase"

Police remained tight lipped today about a car chase which ended in a Police issue GTR skyline being destroyed when chasing a Datsun 180b. The skyline revered for its huge power is a tough car to handle........

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nothing in this story that you can't find out just by keeping your eyes open, I expected much more detail. Very disappointed, waste of screen and print space.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Italian police are equipped with a couple of Lamborghini's, while the Germans have some hot Audis. As well as patrolling the autostrada and autobahn, they are also employed for useful purposes such as kidney transplant deliveries.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Harry_Gatto at 11:20 AM JST - 8th February

Nothing in this story that you can't find out just by keeping your eyes open, I expected much more detail. Very disappointed, waste of screen and print space.

So true as this isn't really news unless you just arrived on this planet and even then it's really history. The Japanese cops were using Honda the NSX way back in the late 90's and the Skyline GT-R for more than half a decade. Where's the news in this?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How old is this article? The kei-jidosha is now outsourced to the private sector and 100km/h speed limit? Where in Tokyo can you go 100? The most I have ever seen on a highway is 80km?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Does this mean that we won't be seeing those fools riding around on bicycles anymore?. What a loser job. Giving parking tickets.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And if you want to see a R33 up close just hit 130kh on the Tohoku between Urawa and Sano. They have two under covers running that area. There is a Mitsu GTO they use between Utsunomia and Shirokawa.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

All i can say is Suzuki GSXR 1000- good luck catching me!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To drive a Nissan Skyline GT-R or a Honda NSX for work makes it a very attractive incentive for employment - those cars require expensive maintenance. Who in the police force are lucky enough to drive those cars?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

jumped in a 90s model rx7 highway patrol car at a festival a while back, nice fast patrol car, but I could hardly fit in it. I hope they didnt plan on arresting anyone with it, you couldnt fit a body in the back if you cut it into tiny peices.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In my area th J Cops drive tiny little Toytown cars, which they hardly fit into. It is quite comical, and nothing like this article suggests.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The article might be written for a general audience but Dino knows his stuff!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I was attended by a crew in nice undercover WRX Sti when I was rear-ended on Higashi-Kanto.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What? No pics? You can't write about awesome cars and not have pics!!! One doesn't count!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The best way to get a glimpse of these and other cars is at one of the yearly inspection parades . . . [W]e attended one recently . . . "

I genuinely thought this was where the story was going to start after a half a page of fluff, and then I scrolled down and that was it. Comment section starts. I haven't really picked up a Metropolis before and have only glanced at the website briefly, but if this article is any incator, I'm not missing much. Heavy-weight journalism it ain't.

Meanwhile, the undercover cars are scary. Hard to spot and fast as the devil. But I've noticed that they tend to bust little old ladies for driving 5kph over rather than the truckers that barrel down the freeway riding on your tail at 100kph, at a distance of three meters or less. Those are the jerks that I'd like to see nailed. But then, trucks in Japan get a free pass for their ridiculously poor emissions as well, whil everyone else has to pay a small fortune every two years to get their cars inspected. So I suppose I shouldn't be too surprised that cops tend to turn a blind eye to these clowns.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese cops driving Skylines at high speed? What a scary thought! I wonder if they take the same driving course as the cops on their little white cubby bikes? However, I love those Honda VFR800s. They are great machines. - The cops in Sydney drive tuned WRX Impresas. There are not many cars can get away from one of those pocket rockets.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Imagine seeing a Nissan Skyline GT-R closing in on your rearview mirror

Don't have to imagine it, I've seen it. They use Skylines to patrol the highways in Hokkaido and some of the skylines are unmarked vechiles, unfortunately. If you want to speed or pretty much do whatever you want, just buy a Mercedes and tint all the windows(people will assume you're yakuza).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Those are the jerks that I'd like to see nailed. But then, trucks in Japan get a free pass for http://www.kabbanet.ro their ridiculously poor emissions as well, whil everyone else has to pay a small fortune every two years to get their cars inspected. http://sitedesignnet.roThanks for the information and success.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sit Designnet, you dug this article up from more than three years ago!!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites