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3 men toting guns on shinkansen cause scare; turn out to be plain clothes police officers

16 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

On Monday morning, the Nozomi 114 bullet train was making its regularly scheduled run from Hiroshima to Tokyo. Its route along the Sanyo/Tokkaido Shinkansen line provides views of some of Japan’s largest cities and, if the weather is clear, even Mt Fuji, but one passenger spotted something much more startling.

Smoking isn’t allowed in the seating area on the shinkansen, so smoking rooms are set up between certain cars. The passenger noticed three men in suits had congregated near one of the rooms, and that one of them had a handgun attached to his hip.

The passenger notified the train staff, who called in the report to Japan’s 110 police emergency line at roughly 9:20. When the train made its stop at Nagoya Station, officers from the Aichi Prefectural Police boarded the train and conducted a search, and sure enough, all three of the men were discovered to be carrying firearms.

Luckily, the three men had no ill intent, and even though gun ownership regulations in Japan are extremely strict, none of them are in trouble with the law, because it turns out that they are the law. The three men are members of the Osaka Prefectural Police’s escort and security division and were en route to a training exercise in Tokyo.

It’s extremely unusual to see or hear of not-in-uniform police officers carrying weapons in Japan, and the Aichi Prefectural Police say that this is the first case in record of plain clothes police officers being mistaken for criminals and reported for carrying guns. All three were found to be operating within the allowances of police regulations, however, and thus no disciplinary actions are pending.

That said, in a country where it’s rare to ever see anyone who’s not a uniformed police officer or Self Defense Forces member carrying a firearm, it’s surprising that the officers didn’t make their presence and status known to shinkansen operator Japan Railway, or at least to the crew of the train they were travelling on. Granted, as mentioned, they weren’t under any legal obligation to do so, but with the incident last summer in which a Shinkansen passenger took out a knife and began slashing the people around him, leaving one person dead and two injured, still fresh in many people’s minds, a heads-up before they boarded the train while packing visible heat might have saved everyone a lot of trouble, not to mention fear.

Sources: Livedoor News/Kyodo via Hachima Kiko, Asahi Shimbun Digital, The Sankei News, Sanspo

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- The ultimate Shinkansen trip: Riding Japan’s bullet train network from one end to the other

-- Shinkansen stabbing suspect tells police he will commit another crime if released from prison

-- Japan’s high-speed Shinkansen train makes emergency stop as snake is found onboard

© SoraNews24

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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The passenger noticed three men in suits had congregated near one of the rooms, and that one of them had a handgun attached to his hip. So much for operational security

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Should be disciplined for unprofessionalism. I can picture it now, jacket open, hand in pocket, one foot raised on a footbar/stool, smoking a cig and his sidearm in full view...."hey look at me, ain't I the cool guy?"

This being noticed by the "wrong type of person" could also result in a snap ambush and these 3 dopeys being relieved of their sidearms into the wrong hands.

Back in uniform.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Not being professional is not the case at all, it is safer when they carry those weapon with them compared if they put just it inside bag, where it can be stolen or forgotten. 

The problem is that not common in Japan to see other than those with uniform carrying weapon. So when someone with plain clothes carrying a weapon it will be associated with criminal. This can lead to panic situation among train passengers.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@sakurasuki - The problem is that not common in Japan to see other than those with uniform carrying weapon. So when someone with plain clothes carrying a weapon it will be associated with criminal. This can lead to panic situation among train passengers.

News flash! It's not common to see people carrying guns anywhere! Criminals do not carry guns in plain site. They are concealed. If these suits were carrying guns on plain view, logic would tell you they are cops or some other kind of security force. However, if the cops were not an active duty, they should have had their shields in view to stop this kind of panic from illogical biddies.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Praise the passenger who notified the train crew at once when he or she saw a gun... He/she did the right thing. If he/she panic, it would cause a commotion inside a fast running bullet train.  I also praise the train staff. He handled the situation calmly by reporting the incident immediately and let the right person conducted the search. Glad that the incident wasn’t a crime.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

3 men were seen with gun, they were cops. That's the whole news. And someone wrote a 400 word article about it. Talking about a slow news day!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Gee, at first glance I thought they were on the way to a Halloween party dressed up as yakuza.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The passenger noticed three men in suits had congregated near one of the rooms, and that one of them had a handgun attached to his hip.

The men in black.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Badges should have been displayed on the hip or on lanyards around the neck.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Hook line and sinker. Casey got me on this one.

Love that line packing visable heat. It's like out of script from Hawaii Five-O. I have never seen plain cloths J-cops ever. I have been in Japan 20 years this May. Had it been me on the shinkensen in the smoking room and had seen this. Suites and fire arms and the manner of spoken Japanese. I would have put 2 and 2 together. Yeah law enforcement. Oh well live and learn. ID, shields, lanyards should have been visbale for the no nothings.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

First desensitize the commoner via media propaganda until it becomes the norm, i.e. the military buildup and slowly introducing Imperial Japan, once the new Emperor is sworn in, and the military goes to government control by Prime Minister. Next recent and more common excessive force by the police and its beat down forces,  making Japan into a soon to be police state, now the trains and plain clothes with loaded weapons on a major line. Yes the signs are very clear now...starting with the minor tweaking of the Constitution.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Just carry the undercover guns in a bag. They should be sued for train delay and staff stress. They were going to train, not prance around in plain clothes scaring innocent people.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

...giving an entirely new meaning to the term "bullet train"...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

'because it turns out that they are the law'

What kind of reporting is that?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Are you kidding? So much for plain clothes police. Plain clothes morons more like

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well there are signs all over the shinkansen and constant verbal reminders to report anything suspicious to staff, so I guess this is only fair. Better safe than sorry.

And once panic sets in, it is hard to get people to calm down and return to their senses, as pointed out above.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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