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In general, what do you think of Japanese police? What are their strengths and weaknesses?

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The ones I've encountered have been polite and helpful. Pity their reputation is marred by the odd high profile idiot(s).

3 ( +6 / -3 )

pros- they wont taze you and crack your head open like our cops in the US.

cons- xenophobic, unabashed racial profilers. if it's your word against a japanese, good luck

13 ( +14 / -1 )

A few years ago, I was accosted by a plainclothes officer at Tachikawa Station. I was just about to exit the station when he came up to me with a big grin on his face. He asked me where I was from. I thought he was just some guy who wanted to practice his English. I was on my way home from work after a busy day, so I wasn't in the mood to entertain him and politely told him I was in a hurry. At this point, he became aggressive toward me. He started asking me where I was going and why I didn't want to talk to him. I started to think he was a lunatic and was beginning to worry about my safety. He backed me up against a wall and had a crazy look in his eyes. Before I knew it, three other guys had joined him and they were all surrounding me. As they weren't wearing uniforms, I didn't know what to think. I thought they might just be out to harass any random foreigner they saw. They had cornered me against a low wall and I feared they might push me over and onto the escalator below. Finally, they told me they were police officers. I asked them to show me some proof, and they flashed their badges at me. They did it so quickly and inconspicuously that I didn't have time to discern whether they were real or had been purchased at Don Quixote. In all honesty, I did not think these guys were police officers. Both of my parents are police officers, and so I already had preconceived ideas about how real police officers should behave. These guys were so riled up and had so much adrenaline flowing through them that I thought they might be high on something. I told them that this whole situation was strange, and the first guy gets in my face and says, "You think I'm strange?! You think I'm strange?!" Not knowing what to do, I actually screamed for help. (Needless to say, no one was interested in getting involved.) So here I am, on my way home from work wearing a suit and tie and holding my business bag, surrounded by four guys wearing jeans and sweatshirts. They take my arm and start physically dragging me toward an unmarked door inside the station. I'm like, WTF! I ask a JR staff if these guys are really police officers, and he just looks at me, looks at the men and then turns away. So before I know it I'm being dragged into a corridor behind a big silver door inside the station. They ask me if I have a knife on me and I'm like, "Do I look like I have a knife on me?" So to make a long story short, they had apparently mistaken me for "some other dark-skinned guy."

So if I were to answer the question, "What do you think of Japanese police?" based on this experience alone, I would say they're incompetent and irrational. But the truth is I've met many police officers out here who were very kind and helpful so I won't make the same rash judgment on them that they made on me.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

http://www.japanprobe.com/2011/05/26/public-prosecutors-were-taught-that-yakuza-foreigners-have-no-rights/

“We were taught that yakuza and foreigners have no rights."

My advice? Especially as a foreigner, never trust a Japanese police officer.

They are great at helping people with directions, or helping little old ladies cross the road; that's about it.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

There's too many of them. Police budgets need to be cut.

I've been stopped and questioned a couple of times recently for no reason.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I have dealt with Japanese police on both business and personal levels. In all these contacts I found them to be very efficient and well-mannered on how they handled themselves and in their way of doing business. Therefore, I trust them completely.

On a side note ... I always say "good morning," "good afternoon" or offer other polite greetings (in Japanese, of course) when encountering the police who are on duty in or passing through my neighborhood. And they usually return the greetings.

If I have any serious problems, the first people I would turn to for help would be the police.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@ overthetwelve - I feel your pain. I've been stopped three times in Hachioji Station for being white in public.Twice by uniformed police, and once by the plainclothes police. The uniformed police were very polite, but the plainclothes guys were very rude. I showed them four different IDs (including my alien registration card) and they still wanted to see what else was in my wallet. They stopped when they saw everything had the same name. Then they started checking my pockets "What's this?" That's my cell phone. "What about this?" Those are my glasses. "You still have something in your pocket. What's this?" Then he reached into my pocket and pulled put my handkerchief. Then they left me alone.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

I've been stopped and questioned a couple of times recently for no reason.

in japan, not being (looking) japanese is a reason.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Only time I got stopped for cops was for a bicycle related incident. Once I parked my bike among about 100 others and two other cops walked up and told me I couldn't park there.

Another time I was riding down the street, and two cops stopped me to check my license, they actually asked if I had a receipt. Then they called in the serial number on the bike. But they had to to do it twice because the first time he copied the number down wrong.

Then he asked me if the lock on the bike had a key, when it was clearly a combo lock.

Oh yea, one more, when I first came her, I popped into the Koban to ask if there was any internet cafe. He took out a map, and gave me some pretty horrible directions, while looking at the map.

OK, one more, I thought my bike had been stolen. I went to the Koban to report my bike had been stolen, they told me to come back with a Japanese friends. Didn't take my name, didn't ask any questions, nothing.

OK, one more, once I was sitting in some food court in a mall. There was some drunk guy sitting there screaming. Three cops (two guys and a girl) came in to remove him, or something. He just sat there screaming at them, and they seemed genuinely afraid of him (3 against 1).

So based on my first hand experiences, as far as doing what cops are SUPPOSED to do, which is protect the public and solve crimes, they're pretty worthless.

It would be REALLY funny, for example, to take the entire PD of say, Tokyo, and swap the with the cops from say, New York Or Los Angeles.

Kind of like "swapping wives"

They would get eaten alive.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Good for directions other than that best to avoid like the plague!

3 ( +6 / -3 )

In general, they are polite, careful, hard-working and helpful. They work very long, irregular hours and for the most part do a sterling job. I would prefer it if they didn't carry guns, but they do undergo rigorous training in the use of firearms and are not as trigger-happy as the police in some other countries where they are armed.

Strengths - They are ordinary people, doing a difficult job.

Weaknesses - They are ordinary people, doing a difficult job.

-5 ( +8 / -13 )

Strengths- keeping seats warm. Weakness- anything that requires brain power.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

in general? lazy, racist, corrupt, racist, sleazy, racist, and largely incompetent - just 'generally'

6 ( +11 / -5 )

My advice? Especially as a foreigner, never trust a Japanese police officer.

That's actually reasonable advice. I would extend it to "never trust any police officer". Police in all countries have the power to make your life hell. Most of us are lucky enough not to directly experience that, but it's better to treat them with extreme caution, as you would an animal that might suddenly turn on you.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

I walk on eggshells answering this question here, and I think some of your regulars might understand why. And its very sad, as if we are children needing nannies so we watch our manners.

My experience with police is here is that they have no capacity for thought and no concern about justice. They do their jobs as they are told, and they are directed by people who are corrupt, out of touch and/or only concerned about numbers, be it busts or monetary amounts.

Once I pulled into a convenience store and my GF got out to go in the store and I waited with the engine running. Within seconds some plain clothes pulled up next to me and asked for ID and asking a bunch of questions. I got their ID first through a cracked window and wrote down some details before showing mine. They were not necessarily rude, but this waste of my time and theirs was starting to get me POed. When my GF came back (Japanese) they wanted her ID as well. At that point, I got out of the car, accidentally but happily stepping on one of their feet. (Well, he just stood there). He said nothing. I wrote down the plate number of their unmarked car. Then they finally left us alone. That was in Chiba. And its funny, but I have others stories of being bothered by cops while on dates in Chiba the jerks.

Another time I walked into a Koban to see if I needed to have a parking permit in my locality. First thing the cop did was ask my name. I was like, look, I just need to know if I need a parking permit here. He was insistent for my name. So I gave it to him. Then he goes to a shelf and gets a file. He goes through it and declares I don't need a permit. I am thinking what the hell? I ask about the file and he explains that all gaijin in the town are in it. Every koban has this file and you Mr. and Mrs. Gaijin, your details are there. I was pretty annoyed by this, as I don't feel I am a cow to be tagged and listed by random ranchers.

Another time my GF was driving in heavy traffic and when we finally got going we heard a bang. I looked everywhere for the source and when I finally figured out that the folding side mirror had hit the window I was trying to figure out how that happened. Slowly my GF and I realized that the mirror had struck something...but what? Later another car chased us down with flashing high beams. We did not stop right away because we did not what it was about. After a while we stopped and it turns out our mirror hit her car (with no damage). We go to the cop shop and a cop instantly gets accusatory accusing us of running, etc. He was so rude that I got very lippy back until I was asked to leave not being the driver.

Lots of other stories too. About all I can say for the cops here is they are generally calm and difficult to get a rise out of though I have. But try to explain to them any sort of rationality, such as why breathalyzer tests are completely inaccurate and how they should feel ashamed to offer only that test and no other and you will get blank stares. They will not believe you that its inaccurate and they never checked it out despite using it every day. They do not listen and they cannot think rationally or will not.

In short, they are not your friends. I don't even ask them for directions.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

They were not necessarily rude, but this waste of my time and theirs was starting to get me POed.

You were sitting there doing nothing, they were not rude.. so how was it a 'waste of your time'? Why would you be POed? Possibly your inappropriate attitude rang warning bells with them? Like why is this person sitting outside a shop with the engine running getting antsy about the police being near? Could this be a getaway car and his accomplice is inside stealing stuff?

I am thinking what the hell? I ask about the file and he explains that all gaijin in the town are in it. Every koban has this file and you Mr. and Mrs. Gaijin, your details are there. I was pretty annoyed by this

Guess what, they have tabs on all the residents, not just the foreign ones. When you move into an area, you're legally obliged to register, whatever your nationality. If that upsets you, you have a problem with the bureaucrats who run the system, not with the police who are simply doing their job.

a cop instantly gets accusatory accusing us of running, etc

Erm, from your own account, that's exactly what you did.

they are generally calm and difficult to get a rise out of though I have.

Says more about you than about them....

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Fake.

No plain clothed police will make random identity check since they are all detectives on various cases in which they do not what to reveal their identity randomly to the public since they need to be unmarked and blend in to do their job.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

wipeout

That is a very unfair comment. My cousin is a police officer and a fine one, too. Yet, I know it hurts him deep down when someone calls him "pig." It's very easy for you to insult police, but of course when you need one, it's a different story. When the mad axeman is loose in your front yard, who are you going to call? Who has to call parents in the middle of the night and tell them their son or daughter has been killed in a car crash or was murdered.

I admire honest police on the front lines more than I do any other profession.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

wipeout That is a very unfair comment.

It's an unfair world, my man.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Possibly your inappropriate attitude rang warning bells with them?

How am I supposed to react to a dark car quickly pulling up next to me at night, when two random seeming guys jump out and rap on my window? No, I did not instantly get irate. But my guard did go up. But yes, police do react to guard going up as "inappropriate" as per the story by overthetwelve.

You were sitting there doing nothing, they were not rude.. so how was it a 'waste of your time'?

They were rude for not having any sort of probable cause to bother me. They did not observe me. I parked the car, GF got out and they were on me in seconds. They wasted THEIR time. And I knew they would waste MY time from that instant on. My GF would not be long.

Why would you be POed?

Because I had been hassled by Chiba police before. On dates. For no reason. I cannot help but think its because I am white, but that is not strictly a reason.

If that upsets you, you have a problem with the bureaucrats who run the system, not with the police who are simply doing their job.

I have a problem with both. Those following bad orders are just as guilty as the ring leaders. "Just following orders" is no excuse.

Erm, from your own account, that's exactly what you did.

No. Running is an action of intentionally attempting to avoid responsibility. That is NOT what we did. We did not know what happened at all for a time. Only later did we see the folded mirror, and only after stopping for the driver behind did we know it hit a car. It was a COMPLETELY minor thing. Further we had no place to stop without blocking all traffic and potentially causing a serious accident. But most of all, the cop was accusing us of running BEFORE hearing our side.

And I DO NOT go out to get a rise out of police. But my experience in my own country is that you can get a rise out of them by asking the most innocent of questions. My point is that they don't do that here. And while I have seen others attempt to get a rise, they have difficulty getting one.

Cleo, you read far too much into my post. You saw what you wanted to see, much like these cops.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

JoeBigs, you talk like I claimed to have been billy clubbed as I walked through the park. No such thing occurred. I do not believe Japan is out to get me. But I have been hassled by random cops in Chiba far too much in the short space of time I was there and am glad I no longer live there. But where I live now, I have experienced long lines of people stopped by police in a clear and obvious speed trap. And yes, I berated the police for hassling so many citizens with their bogus trap.

I am not paranoid, but I am not always a good little sheep that is full of faith in the cops. I will challenge them if I perceive they are wrong. People failing to do so is why they step on our toes, and why I felt no guilt accidentally and literally stepping on theirs.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

They were rude for not having any sort of probable cause to bother me. They did not observe me.

You stated before that they were not rude. If they pulled up directly after you, could be they had been observing you while driving. (But your driving would have been beyond fault, of course - no bangs you hadn't bothered to investigate?).

I cannot help but think its because I am white

Plenty of us are white and never get pulled up/harassed by the police, so No it is not because you are white.

"Just following orders" is no excuse.

These are ordinary folk doing their job, not the Gestapo. If your boss tells you to do something relating to your job that you don't agree with, do you refuse to do your job? How many jobs have you resigned from so far?

We did not know what happened

If you're driving and you hear a bang, you stop to see what the bang was. Carrying on driving is running away. Unless you stop you have no idea whether the bang is a 'minor thing' or not. Hitting another car, by the way, even if it causes no actual damage, is not a minor thing. You are obliged to stop.

I will challenge them if I perceive they are wrong. People failing to do so is why they step on our toes

The mentality of a bully. You do realise that most people don't get their toes stood on by the police? They're there to help you - unless you are a criminal or a troublemaker. Berating the officers operating a speed trap is akin to berating a shop assistant because you think the prices are too high. Totally off target, does nothing but make folks' jobs harder than they already are. If you think you have a legitimate problem with a speed trap, take your objections up to the level where such decisions are made, instead of beating on officers who are obliged to be polite to the general public and exercise restraint.

When a person insists on banging his head against a brick wall, it isn't the wall's fault when he ends up with a bruise (or worse) on his forehead.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

I am with Cleo been here for 17yrs(white male) and have never been stopped either for a bicycle or ID check.

Same for many of me friends Asian and Caucasian.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@cleo

No it is not because you are white.

i have to disagree. ive been pulled out of a large group of people (all japanese) waiting to cross the street and thoroughly searched. the only difference between me and everyone around me was my race. im not saying it was because i am white, but it was absolutely because im not japanese. the cops make no secret of stopping foreign looking people for id checks and searches. the bottom line is the police are the enforcement arm of a system that doesnt see non-japanese as equals and therefore we are not entitled to the same protection.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

80393 - Just because you are white and got stopped, it doesn't mean you were stopped because you were white, or that the police make a point of stopping people simply because they're white/non-Japanese-looking. I can more than double It's ME's 17 trouble-free years and I can say that I have never once in my 38 years here been stopped by police or pulled out of a crowd or in any other way been targeted by the police on account of my nationality. On the occasions I have had direct contact (a stolen purse, lost puppy, stolen bike, traffic accident) I have experienced nothing but politeness and an eagerness to help and serve. My daughter and son-in-law are both police officers and I can tell you it is not your apparent nationality or race they are looking at when they stop you or pull you out of a crowd.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

Just because you are white and got stopped, it doesn't mean you were stopped because you were white

that is very true, cleo. and i would let it go at that the first or second time. maybe even the third. but after that you'd be foolish to think it was for any other reason when you alone are singled out among the throngs of people walking down the street.

or that the police make a point of stopping people simply because they're white/non-Japanese-looking

these days when i ask the police why they are checking my id they will simply tell me that they stop foreigners to make sure they arent over staying their visa. a great reason for further investigation. while one runs your id the others do a quick pocket check, empty your belongings into the officers hat. obviously i dont know where you live but this happens to me in tokyo. im glad its never happened to you, but that hardly means it doesnt happen. are your daughter and son-in-law police officers in japan?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

You stated before that they were not rude.

I said "not especially" rude. I was referring to their demeanor rather than their actions. Sorry not to be absolutely clear about that.

If they pulled up directly after you, could be they had been observing you while driving. (But your driving would have been beyond fault, of course - no bangs you hadn't bothered to investigate?).

They said nothing about my driving. They said there had been some robberies where one would wait with the engine running and they were "Investigating" Now, you actually believe that the description of the perps was white male and Asian (Japanese) female? I will tell you what I think they were doing. They were so busy writing in their little notebooks. I think it was their homework assignment to fill that in like junior high school teisu notto.

This was only like my first or second time to go out with that girl and they were mucking it up for no good reason. Clearly my girl who came out with a bag in her hand did not rob the place. Nor did they run in behind her to see if she was. They bothered ME first of all.

If your boss tells you to do something relating to your job that you don't agree with, do you refuse to do your job?

I have put my foot down numerous times on rights, sense and decency issues. The latest one I remember was about drug screening/testing. I got no love from the company and all other employees bent the knee. Pathetic.

You do realise that most people don't get their toes stood on by the police?

You do realize that most people have the sense to get out of the way when a person exits a car? I did not do that on purpose. But that cop decided to be stubborn over his useless and meddling harrssment of me and he paid the price for it in pain.

They're there to help you

90 percent, no they are not. They are there to keep everybody and line and collect robber-baron fees. They are better at helping than cops in my country, I give them that. The other day I saw two of them pushing a car uphill from below an underpass. I wanted to get out and help, but there was no place to pull over and do so. But you know what? I bet I would have gotten the usual BS questioning if I did help.

At any rate, I am no bully. But I have zero tolerance for cowardice, harassment and lording over people.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Again fake.

A drug test can only be initiated through plausible cause and only through consent of the testee. Any result without consent will be thrown out of the window and cannot be used in a court of law.

End of story.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I have no idea the strengths of the J-police because I almost never see them. But I actually would like to see them more out there enforcing traffic laws. in particular ticketing people who don't yield for pedestrians, and infants not in carseats or children not in seat belts.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

i would let it go at that the first or second time. maybe even the third. but after that you'd be foolish to think it was for any other reason when you alone are singled out

Yet when other people with the same characteristics that you claim get you singled out are never singled out, surely that points at the possibility that it's something apart from your whiteness?

they will simply tell me that they stop foreigners to make sure they arent over staying their visa

Yes, well that's an obvious and easy-to-use 'excuse'. You really think they're going to say you're being checked because you look shifty/suspicious/your eyes are too close together/whatever? (I'm not saying you do look shifty - I have no idea what you look like, apart from being white - but since I'm pretty sure people do not get stopped for the crime of being White In Public, I'm inclined to believe there's some other reason that you aren't aware of.

i dont know where you live but this happens to me in tokyo

I've lived in Tokyo, Chiba, Hokuriku, Nagoya and now Tochigi, both big cities and the sticks. Never been harassed by the police. I couldn't look any whiter if I tried (pale skin, blue eyes, blonde hair), I ride a bike everywhere and being WIP has never been a problem, anywhere.

are your daughter and son-in-law police officers in japan?

Yes. Daughter is also very obviously haaf, hasn't stopped her getting promoted so I'm inclined to take accusations of rampant racism in the police (though I won't claim it doesn't exist at all, it's a germ that worms its way into everywhere) with a very large pinch of salt.

I think it was their homework assignment

And I think you've been watching too many third-rate TV sitcoms. :-)

They are there to keep everybody and line and collect robber-baron fees.

Sorry, but you're 100% wrong. And it's probably that attitude that draws suspicion on yourself.

But you know what? I bet I would have gotten the usual BS questioning if I did help.

Again, attitude. It doesn't help you.

I am no bully. But I have zero tolerance for cowardice, harassment and lording over people.

Berating people who are simply trying to do their legitimate job is bullying.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

In short, they are not your friends. I don't even ask them for directions.

Ooh cold as ice. One of the first things I do when I move into a new neighbourhood (moving is one of my hobbies) is pop in to the local police box and ask where something is - coin laundry, post office, best snack club in town, etc. Tell them you just moved and make yourself known. Then if you ever have any problems etc you've already chatted and are best friends.

-1 ( +1 / -3 )

You really think they're going to say you're being checked because you look shifty/suspicious/your eyes are too close together/whatever?

none of these are reasons to be searched by the police.

Yet when other people with the same characteristics that you claim get you singled out are never singled out, surely that points at the possibility that it's something apart from your whiteness?

ive wondered about that, too. perhaps because youre a woman? and, not to be rude, but an older woman? i know neither of these change your race but i think women in general may get less static from cops. i have to say im very surprised (and glad) to hear about your daughter. ive yet to see an officer who is visibly not 100% japanese and wasnt sure if they even exsisted. i hope to meet one someday as ive a lot of questions.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I was only I.D.ed twice in my long life in Japan. The cops were polite about it. I was harassed by thuggish cops for the crime of being a pedestrian in my hometown in the US on a number of occasions. Americans drive and don't walk so a pedestrian is an anomaly. Here in Japan everyone walks and so cops don't bother me.

The problem with plainclothesmen is that a lot of scummy types like to tell you they are keisatsu (cops). I suggest if you accosted by someone acting like a plainclothesman tell him you are on the way to the Koban to take care of some business. Ask him to take you there. If he is a fake he'll flee. If he is the real thing, he'll probably assume you are okay and leave you alone.

In general it is good to have a healthy mistrust of the police--as it is of anyone with power over you.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I was only I.D.ed twice in my long life in Japan.

did they tell you why they were checking your id?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Some of us are more suspicious looking than others, so saying it never happens because it doesn't happen to you is ignoring that we don't all have the same experiences. I get pulled over for no particular reason and have my bike registration checked every few months. I almost never get pulled over while walking, though it has happened. I usually have the feeling they just want to practice their English when they do this though, so I make sure to only reply in Japanese. My black friend on the other hand was telling me recently about the one and only time he got stopped by the police. He was walking, and the cop was following him, so he finally turned around and said 'why are you following me?'. The cop told him that there was a report of a stolen bike. My friend got snippity and asked why the hell he would be walking if he had stolen a bike. That ended it.

Other than that, I've had positive experiences with the police. I've been both the accused and the accuser in two different situations. When I was the accuser, the police treated me properly, and were harsh on the other guy, even though I was the foreigner and he was Japanese. So I cannot say they are entirely biased. In the other situation, I was in the wrong, and even so they were very polite with me. I did the proper thing (lots of apologizing), and in the end I was let off with a warning.

So my thoughts are that it's really a case-by-case situation. Some of them suck, and some of them don't.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Berating people who are simply trying to do their legitimate job is bullying.

That is just it. I told you they were not doing a legit job. If they were, they would have paid more attention to my GF who would have been robbing the store, IF we were robbers.

Sorry, but you're 100% wrong. And it's probably that attitude that draws suspicion on yourself.

My attitude? I am pretty sure I have never been approached for my attitude while driving, and while driving has been most of my run ins.

I was once on a tourist visa and renting an apartment from a friend. I got stopped to be questioned by a cop. I showed him my passport, visa and international driving license all in proper order. He asks for a gaijin card. I explain I am on a tourist visa and I don't have one. He directs me to a parking lot for further questioning where he asks me umpteen questions and keeps asking for a gaijin card. I took this in stride for 15 minutes before I started getting POed. But I know, I know. I should have entertained the idiot for an hour right? Cause you have cops in the family.

And look, robber-baron fees, that is a big chunk of what they do. Mostly they don't bust and fine drunk drivers. They bust and fine people who had a bit to drink by using an inaccurate test. Zero tolerance is about money, cause DUI fatalities is only a tenth of a percent of other fatalities. Highway and road speed limits are insanely low so that they can really hit you hard in the wallet when they catch you speeding. The parking crackdown was about money. You have to pay to have cops check your place for a parking permit, as if you could not just point in one of those detailed local maps to show you have the space.

And I think you've been watching too many third-rate TV sitcoms

I was there. You weren't. And it was obvious to a dead mouse that I was not the suspect. So why are they filling in notebook pages with my info?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

My attitude? I am pretty sure I have never been approached for my attitude while driving

You already told us you think nothing of driving off after causing an accident. Why are you so confident you have never been approached for your attitude while driving?

Mostly they don't bust and fine drunk drivers. They bust and fine people who had a bit to drink by using an inaccurate test. Zero tolerance is about money

So not only do you drive away from accidents, you drink and drive in a country where there is zero tolerance, and when you get caught, it's their fault, not yours for drinking and driving? And there's still nothing wrong with your attitude?

The parking crackdown was about money. You have to pay to have cops check your place for a parking permit

What parking 'crackdown'? You said you were the one who went asking if you needed a parking permit. That was no crackdown. You said he looked in his book of names and said you didn't need one (weird, cos unless you live in one of half a dozen or so tiny villages, every car owner needs a parking permit, the car dealer won't hand over the car until you produce it).

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

cleo, here is a piece written by a japanese woman about her experiences with profiling in japan. its worth a read if you still believe looking foreign is not in itself probable cause for police harassment.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/08/opinion/08iht-edkumiko.html?_r=0

3 ( +3 / -0 )

You already told us you think nothing of driving off after causing an accident.

Bumping mirrors is hardly an accident. Plus, we did not know what happened. I said I looked everywhere to find the cause of the bang. I thought maybe we got hit by a bird because I saw nothing.

If we stopped for every ping and every snap, we would get people killed on the road. You don't drive do you?

So not only do you drive away from accidents, you drink and drive in a country where there is zero tolerance,

I hope your police relatives are not like you. You just accused me of a crime over the internet despite me not having said anything like doing that. On the other hand, maybe police in Japan are selected for that very trait?

No, cleo. As far as I know, I do not drink and drive. I say "as far as I know" because given new rules, nobody knows if they are legal after drinking. It could be a full 24 hours after drinking.

I used to drink and drive within previous legal limits yes. But it was not a crime then as it was within legal limits. I was once accused of being over legal limits though, based on that garbage breath test they give. I had one medium beer an hour before. They said I must have had two large beers 30 minutes ago. Utter sham. They are robber-baron fee collectors.

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Readers, please stop bickering.

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I have a quick question regarding Japanese police. So, I'm a military wife, and I was out around midnight just outside of base, listening to music and reading my facebook on a street bench, when Japanese police got out of their car and came over to question me. Of course I got really scared but they spoke good English and I was cooperative. It started with konbanwa: "what is your name?" "where do you live?" Once I explained that I was going home very soon and they learned that I was American, they apologized, I apologized, and they left. I'm still pretty freaked out about it. There was what looked like a homeless camp about a block away, as well. Would they have stopped to question me because of that? I've been on late night walks before and have never been stopped. Did I do something wrong?

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Brittany, I don't know how old you are or what you look like, but is it possible the police were checking you out because:

1) You were sitting on a bench alone at night with apparently nowhere to go and might be in trouble/a runaway?

2) You were sitting on a bench outside an American base looking suspicious (in these days of random terrorism)?

3) You weren't 'on a walk', you were sitting on a bench apparently engaged in aimless activity - that in itself rings alarm bells for the police. If you were walking - obviously going somewhere, with some aim - as before, they probably wouldn't have stopped you.

From your description of what happened, you didn't do anything 'wrong'. No need at all to be scared, no need at all not to be cooperative. The police had your back, is all.

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by the way cleo she said she was married so old enough to be out after dark LOL

awe after reading another comment now i know this cleo guy has relatives that are cops - it figures- Cleo are they Japanese? if not then that is irrelevant and even if they are its still irrelevant because even if there is one cop who acts ethically doesnt mean they all do. But really the policy of disobeying Japanese law is wrong and yes I do blame the police for following an order that disobeys the law. The excuse that they may loose their job if they disobey is not an excuse- your easoning of " havent you been given an order by your boss before?" is laughable- no I havent been given an order to disobey the law I was sworn to uphold. There have been orders I didnt like or disagreed with morally but they were not illegal and even if they were legal but i disagreed strongly enough on a moral basis I would just politely disagree and if pressed I would resign and get a new job. Again your reasoning is flawed.

Arent you just trying to bully others into taking your stance on the issue despite their personal experience just because you have relatives that are police officers in some other country? Isnt that what is really going on here? I dont know how old you are but maybe your so old that you come from an era where people respect and never question an authority figure. You see anyone can play that game of devaluing another's opinions based on assumptions. You should take a look in the mirror before questioning people's character.

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My experiences are mostly in line with Cleo's. In near two decades, I think I've been stopped twice while going about my business, and one of those was a road block of sorts - they were checking bicycles, and not just mine but Japanese people as well. All the incidents I've had with police have been quite polite, which is something I could not say about the police in my home country.

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I have many bad experiences with the cops here. I live in Yamaguchi, a rather countryside place with many hills. The cops hide in the bush and jump out at you. I got a ticket because my car accelerated while rolling down a steep hill and drove 65 on a 60km road. 5km ove.r. I pleaded with them and told them i was on a steep hill, maintaining the speed. blam! slapped with a ticket!

Another time, I came to a rolling stop, looked behind me and saw no cars coming so I went on my way. The car in front of me didn't even stop and just sped through. A yankii driver was super speeding, but the cops saw me, ignored them and gave me a ticket. They said "A stop sign was there, obey our laws!" I shut down.

Another time, I switched lanes approaching a stop sign to get away from a guy driving so close that he might as well get in the back seat of my car, the police saw me cross the yellow line, blam, a ticket. I tried to explain to him why I switched lanes, deaf ears.

My thing with them is that for some minor things like these, a decent person would be like "Ok, just be careful next time." Slow down, look for the street signs (or something informational before they leave) would be helpful, but its all about doing as you're told, that money and the belief that the yakuza and gaijins have no "Japanese rights"

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