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62.9% of people with foreign roots in Japan questioned by police: survey


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Only 63%? surprising. I had the idea it was more like 80%, even including children.

3 ( +28 / -25 )

63% is official figures.

-5 ( +14 / -19 )

I'm sure the figures would be lower if the people asked were blond, blue-eyed and from a 'civilized' (ie European) country.

-3 ( +27 / -30 )

Racial profiling , prejudice , gender equality issues.

This is Japan.

Hate crimes towards foreigners seem to be not viewed as crimes at all.

To be prejudice towards foreigners is just a very normal part of the culture here in Japan.

In fact most ive met don't even realize they are being prejudice or sexist.

Its a sad situation.

The younger generation are definitely more friendly towards foreigners which is good to see.

Living in Japan ive just had to accept that prejudice here is normal.

2 ( +30 / -28 )

But 76.9 percent of people who were questioned by police officers in the survey said there was no reason for being treated with suspicion.

So out of 62.9% who were stopped 23.1% said they did act suspiciously.

Which means overall, among all foreign people in Japan, almost 15% admit they act suspiciously.

Seems a bit higher than the average Japanese, perhaps.

-16 ( +13 / -29 )

If the cops start asking me more than one or two questions, I usually ask them if they are searching for a suspect or if they think I am one.

I do this in a friendly fashion but usually they will just let it go from there.

2 ( +15 / -13 )

Hasn't happened to me recently, but maybe 12 years or so ago it did - just randomly stopped by police on at least a couple of occasions in Omiya for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than that I was a foreigner. They were wanting to check my gaijin card in case I'd overstayed or whatever.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

I have been stopped in the last two years four times,for the crime of doing nothing.

I’m a tall western caucasian guy living in a small city in central Japan and I find how the Japanese police racially profiles foreigners outraging.

This is how our taxes goes for these racists incompetents.

20 ( +43 / -23 )

Nothing very specific to Japan, being different can suck big time sometimes. Prejudice and racism in the police force, pretty normal and needs to be rooted out asap

16 ( +27 / -11 )

I've been stopped and questioned once in 50 years. And that was only because the guy in the police box wanted to practice his English!

14 ( +27 / -13 )

Twice in the last six years. I wasn't doing anything suspicious either time. Once, they were checking my bicycle wasn't stolen and once they just stopped me at a station. Both times, I got stared at by passers by.

The equation "foreigner=danger" is so deeply rooted that it's really difficult to even address. The other day, I wanted to raise my concerns about living in an area with a lot of non-Japanese, as I've experienced locals getting quite hostile in such areas. However, before I could say that, the other person completed my sentence by saying "chian warui ne" when I mentioned a lot of non-Japanese living there, seemingly caring little that they were saying this to a gaikujin!

Anyway, I hardly expect anything to change. I've met a lot of open-minded young people but also heard very interesting opinions about the dangers of even going abroad on a holiday. And those aren't people who decide to join the police. The nationalist education and feel-good media about how "heiwa" Japan is are going their job.

5 ( +20 / -15 )

've been stopped and questioned once in 50 years. And that was only because the guy in the police box wanted to practice his English!

Gahaa you made my day

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

Had to believe. I lived in Chiba close to Tokyo and worked in Tokyo for 18.5 years. I never once got questioned by police in the whole time I lived there.

7 ( +20 / -13 )

they showed "overbearing behavior" toward them.

I don't know if that counts, but both times I was stopped they asked very invasive questions and asked me for things such as my employee and bank details.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

I'm sure the figures would be lower if the people asked were blond, blue-eyed and from a 'civilized' (ie European) country.

Blonde, white with green eyes, European here, been stopped 4 times by police, twice to check my bike, once to check my id and once to search my wallet, pockets and inside my charm bought at a temple. So no, your theory isn't correct.

18 ( +26 / -8 )

When you're stopped and being asked some questions by the officers, answer to the questions, and show your ID. If they speak to you in somehow impolite manner, or overly-casual manner, or in 반말(パンマル)Panmal, DO complain about it. I always do.

1 ( +11 / -10 )

My good self has been questioned several times on mere sight of me. At one time they followed me to my apartment and called others with aim of arresting me for not showing them my drivers license. But for wife I wouldn’t have cooperated because they did ask for my license when I couldn’t tell them the owner of a truck parked nearby.It was a long story and I felt outrageous.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

I haven’t been stopped in the 6 years I’ve been here, I live in a semi-rural area which probably helps.

1 ( +9 / -8 )

Time the cops got a little re-education.” -Agree with your more accurate accounting of the survey sampling @zichi 5:41pm:

“I think it must mean 62.9% of the people in the poll. 62.9% of 2.094 people….would be 1,317 people. -

I think you also mean the writers, staff & editor at KYODO news and how they often erroneously(?) [misre]present survey numbers in headlines and introductory paragraphs:

“A total of 62.9 percent of people in Japan with foreign roots were questioned by police over the past five years,” -

9 ( +14 / -5 )

In over ten years, zero. Indidnstop at a koban to report something missing once but that was on my own accord.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

What language is being used in all this questioning?

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Racial profiling of any kind is abhorrent. But, those of us who are Caucasian from Caucasian majority countries need to remember its as bad if not worse for POC in our native countries, especially in my own US, where “living while POC” can get you killed. I’ve tried to use this as a lesson in empathy.

5 ( +21 / -16 )

Advise: If you don't understand or speak Japanese fluently to deal with Japanese police officers, do carry your ID always which is your obligation by law. As much as you refer to Japan as a homogeneous island country, take it for granted, if you appear different, you might be asked for whatever reasons. That is still Japan, whether you like it or not.

-6 ( +12 / -18 )

Maybe I am the lucky one then, because I have never been questioned by police.

Heck I have had the wagging finger treatment when speeding.

My local bobby keeps an eye on my home when I have travelled abroad on business, offered to help when a storm destroyed my vegetable and fruit garden. Offers advice on home security.

Officers at my local kōban salute.

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Let me guess, the survey was only conducted in Tokyo. I know of few foreigners down here that have been stopped or questioned like this article states, and I know of NONE that were given the survey.

Anyone here actually participate?

2 ( +8 / -6 )

I ain't surprise. A relative of mine is in the force and he actually explain some things to me. A lot of it has to do with the illegal ones overstaying their visa. Most either comes here to work or study but eventually refuse to go back.

There is also another problem with the law. Japan actually cannot send anyone back to their home country if they refuse to be repatriated. While they can hold you at some detention facility and try to make it miserable enough to force you to go home, they actually cannot legally send you away. And this allow many immigrants who had committed crimes to continue to stay in japan. There is actually still many who are currently on the run after they were release on bail. When detention centers are full, a lot of them are granted provisional release, but you can forget about ever seeing them again or reporting back to you.

So this all makes the job of the police a lot harder. So their job from the higher up is to constantly question any foreigner to try to catch the ones that slip past the net again. It a extremely old fashion way of doing things but they have no choice as it's their job.

-9 ( +8 / -17 )

Probably depends where you live and what your lifestyle is?! When I lived in Kobe & Osaka and was out drinking most nights I’d have been in that group. Since I’ve lived in the countryside and stopped drinking I’ve not spoken to the police once in over 10 years.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

It would be better to publish the concerned police officer's view as well. Some foreigners may try to introduce their faith or political philosophy which might not suit the local mind set. For example collecting funds for establishing and erecting prayer halls or otherwise soliciting for spreading their religious or political philosophy that might in the long run destabilize the social peace in Japan. Nevertheless these are highly sensitive issues and need careful handling. Administration must be aware of such occasion and undertake appropriate preventive measures.

-8 ( +5 / -13 )

Doesn't bother me too much, been stopped a couple times and asked for ID and some general questions what I do here, where I live etc. I've got nothing to hide and am always very cooperative and respectful to them, have never had them be rude to me either. If you are offended then get a thicker skin, as long as you have your ID and everything is in good standing order with your status here then there is nothing to be worried about. We are foreigners here, we will never get the same treatment as Japanese, accept it and move on.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

If I'm not wrong J-police have given authority to check visa validity (recently passed law). Hence they ask any alien looking face for valid ID and we can't even deny.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

So we have an actual survey that has an actual number but we have the same regulars here either trying to shift the focus or still making the claims like "I have never been stopped" or " only once in 50 years" blah blah blah.

And it is always the same deniers that will say these things.

If you read the article they ask the question "in the past 5 years"

And the results are over 60%.

But some here would like us to believe never, in 2 3 even 4 times that long.

50 years only once? My mixed Japanese children in their 20s have been stopped more than that in the last 2 years.

I wonder how these deniers or what they call being stopped?

If they haven't been pulled over in their car but just asked to show their Zairiyu card leaving a station they don't count it as being stopped?

-6 ( +12 / -18 )

I think this is an unavoidable aspect, There are some foreigners who stay in Japan illegally. However, it is undesirable to have many anti-Japanese because of this. Some of them often come here and make bad comments.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

A lot of it has to do with the illegal ones overstaying their visa.

That would explain checking their residence cards. Nothing else.

And this allow many immigrants who had committed crimes to continue to stay in japan.

A while ago, I read an article claiming that a percentage of detainees may be facing punishment in their country. Even if that is true it a) does not justify stopping "foreign"-looking people in the streets as those in question are already detained and b) a large proportion of these detainees mentioned in the article was from countries like Iran, where mere dissent can end you in jail.

Your post pushes the narrative that detainees are predominantly dangerous criminals (they're not) and that Japan needs to pass the law on deportation it was trying to last year. Otherwise those poor police officers will have to keep checking anyone not looking Japanese, examine their bags, wallets and ask them invasive questions.

-3 ( +9 / -12 )

In 35 years I've been stopped more times than I can remember. I answer no questions but politely give them my identity card and tell them that if they think I have done something wrong, they should arrest me.

Touch wood, so far they just send me on my way.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I am sorry, but crime rates in other countries are considerably higher than in Japan. It may be the job of police officers to question people from those countries. I am sorry.

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

Why do you have a problem with that? Something to hide, the missing 37.1%? lol

No that’s normal business like in all other areas of the economy, where you also have to gather or know some basic informations about your customers, clients, rivals, investors or shareholders and so on just to better fulfill your duties in daily business activities. No one would deny that fact there so why only that specific bashing of police? Give us a rational reason why only they should be excluded from knowing anything about the people they are dealing with!

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

I always show my card / license proudly!.. here!

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@ Antiquesaving

I haven’t been here 30+ years. Only about 10. In that time I haven’t been stopped once. Not for an ID check or anything. The ONLY time I’ve even spoken to police here is when I stopped in at a koban to ask directions. I don’t think it’s a suspect claim at all.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

This and the police that camp in the sides of the streets stopping bikes without their headlights on are signs of a bloated police budget. Mind you that the survey group likely contains people of East Asian descent that most police won't be able to identify as foreign at a glance. So within the "obviously foreign" crowd, the numbers probably shoot above 80%.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

The "I have never been stopped" make me think of a guy I know.

He constantly says he haven't been stopped.

Then I find out he has been stopped plenty of times he just chooses to not view these stops as "being stop for being Gaijin".

He doesn't make a difference between an actual traffic stop for a violation and a "Gaijin" stop.

When I am stopped for possible traffic violation in my car the first thing the police asks if for your driver's license if they stop you and ask for you Zairiyu card "it is not a traffic stop", he would argue that being stopped and asked for ID (but not driver's license) wasn't being stopped for being a "Gaijin".

When his own wife and mine (both Japanese) said there is no such thing as just stopping a car and checking ID but not the driver's license.

To this day he still claims he hasn't been stopped for being a Gaijin just normal police doing their job checking people's ID and claims even Japanese get this.

But I don't know any except Mix Japanese and foreigners people.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

I have long hair and a beard. During the first 12-13 years I lived here I got stopped once every 2-3 months. I then moved closer to the main police station in my town and started getting stopped even more. It got bad enough that I made a complaint to my embassy which then made a human rights complaint to the town I was living in. I actually had to go to the police station with a lawyer to threaten litigation before they stopped harassing me. Obviously I wasn’t ok being treated that way but on my own I can deal with the harassment. What I worried about most was being stopped while I was with my children and having to explain to them why the police were treating me that way. Luckily that hasn’t happened.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Antiquesaving - My question about what counts as questioning is important because without the details of the survey it is impossible to know if these are routine stops or something more sinister.

This is what I mean, with the rare exception of certain days in Akihabara.

There is no such thing as "routine stops" not for Japanese nationals.

I have seen what happens when police officer asks a Japanese to show ID one girl with heavy permed hair asked for her Zairiyu card blew up yelling and screaming at the cop who moved quickly to apologize for mistaking her for a "Gaijin".

Not a single "pure" Japanese I know has ever been stopped as a "routine check".

But all the visibly mixed people I know including my 2 adult children have.

-3 ( +10 / -13 )

I’ve been stopped 3 times in my ten years here… my j wife who has lived here her entire life has never been stopped…

3 ( +7 / -4 )

The regular false flag:

A lot of it has to do with the illegal ones overstaying their visa.

And this allow many immigrants who had committed crimes to continue to stay in japan.

Just to dispel the often used "foreigners"= criminal and "foreigners"= overstaying.

According to Japan's own statistics by percentage Foreigners in Japan commit fewer crimes than the native Japanese.

This based of the percentage of crimes committed based on the population of foreigners and the percentage of crimes committed by Japanese based on the Japanese nationals population.

And of the crimes by foreigners visa violation is the top crime and despite that foreigners still have a lower instance of committing crimes than the Japanese.

So thank for promoting a false stereotype of the criminal foreigners and overstatyers.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

I see racial profiling is alive and well in Japan. And I'm not surprised.

-2 ( +11 / -13 )

As I barely use public transportation and don't bike as often as before, I almost never get stopped by bored cops in the streets, but if you have the guts, I would recommend pointing the camera at them. Yes, 1 of the cops will automatically get very defensive and say bs like ''dame dame dame'', which can be rebuked right away with a "arent you a public servant? who are you?". You can even make up stuff like "kokusai bengonin desu" - "International lawyer here". This shuts them up right away. I know they are only doing their job but I cant allow myself to get 15 min. of my day wasted with this kind of silliness, especially when you are confident a white guy with professional attire doesnt represent the crime demographics here (or pretty much anywhere else)

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Hasn't happened to me in the past five years. But it's happened multiple times over the years.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Absolutely worth reading is this Twitter thread about racial profiling in Tokyo. Written by Jolyon Thomas, an African-American man and now tenured professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Clearly not one of the many, many times this man was stopped in Tokyo by cops was ever justified: https://twitter.com/jolyonbt/status/1261268535562711040

"62.9% of people with foreign roots in Japan questioned by police: survey"

Confusing headline, since ALL people in mainland Japan except for the Ainu have foreign roots. So that would mean virtually all police officers as well. Significant migration to Japan from China and Korea continued well into the middle part of the Heian Period (794-1185).

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Curious about the questions used?

So was I.

Found it still online at https://script.google.com/macros/s/AKfycbwAUpC3tVf2NZ6aSww1FxoDrCjPTXPrvVaOuK9b_wPKJ84B5U0/exec

What strikes me odd is the lack of definitions for takers; particularly the "people with foreign roots" references without instruction. Language may be a barrier, but I also found Question #13 to be odd, questionning whether an officer's questioning and attitude ever made one sick in the past five years.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Questioning, not "questionning." Sorry about that!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don't blame the officers, but the leadership starting at the top and until that changes things will go on as usual.

Japan is no different than some other Asian nations where whites, blacks, brown colored citizens are viewed by suspicion due to sever poor misunderstanding of others cultures.

The Last time I visited the hotel staff demanded that I hand over my Passport or else, despite the fact that I made my reservation ahead of time, and the Chinese embassy has already checked my background and issued my visa.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am a 6’ 3” biker with long hair. I got stopped twice 47 years ago but never since (apart from getting tickets for speeding). I was stopped a lot more in my original country

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I've been questioned only twice in 31 years, both times because of how I was improperly riding my bicycle.

But I'm caucasian. Unfortunately, Japanese police stop darker skinned people and non-Japanese-looking Asians far more often. It's pure racism.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

I have only received passsive awareness in Japan but never singled out due to me ethnicity. I am very active and included myself in their daily way of life. Passive awareness is when your seated in economy by yourself. When you entry the onsen and most get out. Some might consider this as discrimination. I say good for me.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Never been stopped randomly in 15 years or so. Various interactions for traffic violations or accidents and police were always polite and efficient. One time the policeman apologized for giving me a ticket for speeding on my motor scooter after he saw I was non Japanese because he said it was logged in the machine, and another time riding my motor scooter on the footpath they did ask for my alien card and even asked to check my bag for drugs. But on the other hand they didn’t give me the ticket/fine I richly deserved so I was very thankful along with my numerous apologies for me doing the wrong thing.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I rarely get stopped, but when I do it's while I'm driving.

So, when I get pulled over, I make it a habit to present both my drivers license and resident card at the same time to save the police the effort of having to ask.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

This article is stupid. It's like sliced lotus root, there are so many holes in it.

The survey sounds like it was biased towards a certain group of foreigners. They should have included race. Without that information, it doesn't say enough.

Surveys that are taken because people want to fill them out are biased towards the opinions or experiences of a certain group of people. They say they asked a certain group of people, but they don't tell us who they were. Without that information, the reader doesn't have a good idea of what's going on.

Ask any foreigner why they live in Japan, and either the first or second reason will be that Japan is safe. That's because another countries there are all sorts of crimes that don't generally happen in Japan.

People are the ones that commit crimes. There's nothing stopping the people that commit crimes when they come to Japan from doing them. I'm a foreigner. When I go to Shinjuku, I'm verbally approached by foreign men who are selling drugs, gathering prostitutes, and doing generally illegal things there.

Japanese people know how to be on the down low. Japanese people in general follow the laws. Foreigners can't read Japanese, can't speak Japanese, and might not be interested in following laws considering how much wealth is in this country. So that's another reason they probably search them. Japanese people know how terrifying the police are, but foreigners don't until they are questioned.

Also, it's hard for police to find foreign criminals because foreign criminals work alone or in groups that can't be infiltrated by Japanese spies. Also they speak other languages, so it's harder for them to spy on them through social networks.

The easiest way to prevent crime done by foreigners is to question and search them. I don't see any problem with that.

I like a safe Japan. I hope they keep doing this.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

I've been living in Japan for 17 years and was only stopped once by the police. They wanted to check my bicycle ownership.

0 ( +2 / -2 )


You call us deniers, but facts are facts. When I have been stopped on my bike, they have asked me for my license, in fact I have never been for my gaijin toroku or zairyu cards in the street, only at the council office, etc. As I mentioned earlier, however, I was stopped and searched regularly before I came to Japan.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Two points: recency and severity. First 25 years here, I rarely got stopped. I chalked that up to being white, blonde, and blue-eyed, ergo privileged. However, in the last 3 years, I've been stopped about a dozen times on foot or on two wheels for a variety of reasons: looking like I was loitering (playing a location-based game on the smartphone), and random ID checks. In most cases, it was racial profiling with a thin excuse for a stop. The point is the number of stops has dramatically increased in the last several years. When the police cite the new law, I always remind them that the law doesn't say that they have to check gaijin cards, a driver's license should suffice as a gaijin card is needed to get the license. I point out that it's discretionary-- the law doesn't say they have to do it. They agree and apologize to which I say they wouldn't have to apologize if they chose not to racially profile.

In terms of the difference between stops of Japanese and foreigners, the latter are always lengthier. They involve careful inspections of ids and vehicle insurance, calls into HQ, lots of questions many of which sound like they are just making conversation, testing my Japanese ability etc. As for the stops of people who look Japanese, just yesterday, for example, I witnessed a stop over a two-wheeled vehicle moving violation. The person was able to drive away in thirty seconds after a cursory look was given to their driver's license by the sole officer. If it had been me stopped, it would have taken at least twenty minutes and would have ended up with at least four if not a half dozen officers surrounding me. True that being blonde has shielded me in the past, but no longer. Yeah, it's racist, and they are increasingly racially profiling with more severe procedures for foreigners -- the new law has emboldened them.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I confess to being quite inconsistent in regard to this issue...Years ago at the airport I watched as young policemen wandered about with clipboards, stopping people, none of whom looked like Yamada Ken or Suzuki Mayumi. When they came to me, saying "show me passport," I said in Japanese, in which I am quite fluent, having spent the great majority of my long life here, that I wasn't carrying one, as I am a Japanese citizen. When my wife came out of the restroom and saw what was going on, I thought she would scold me for not being cooperative. Instead, she treated the officers as though they were her children and sent them sheepishly on their way...My guess is that such "kids" get stuck with the job by their eager-beaver/make-work bosses and that eventually it will stop, as though magically, just as "haro, haro" has vanished...

kennyGApr. 10 06:31 pm JST

When you're stopped and being asked some questions by the officers, answer to the questions, and show your ID. If they speak to you in somehow impolite manner, or overly-casual manner, or in 반말(パンマル)Panmal, DO complain about it. I always do...

Great to hear from someone who knows Korean! Panmal (lit. 'half-speech') involves dropping the polite -yo suffix from the so-called infinitive. It's like not using -masu forms...Once a policeman, no more than half my age, spoke to me in that way, and that more than anything got to me--and I told him that he was being rude. But it's hard to tell what the motive is. Perhaps there isn't any. Is it deliberate condescension? Is it somehow thought that "funny-looking" people have to be spoken to as though they were children? Is it that they simply don't know how to speak politely? I don't know...In these grim times, I've become more willing to cut the police some slack.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I'll put up with it if it catches illegals, and if it just acts as a deterrent. We can't claim everything is racism.Thank god this isn't the USA, then we'd have something to really moan about. Just answer their questions, show your ID and be on your way. If you feel harassed then go an complain to the police station.Thats the best way to deal with it instead of shouting RASCISM. If black/white guy does a crime, there is no point stopping the Taros.If a man does a crime there is absolutely no point in stopping women.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I think there are bigger problems to deal with. like the deaths in immigration.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

I had no problem as a Western foreigner from Europe since more than 40 years living in Japan, I was stopped several times when riding my motorcycle or driving my car, especially during nighttime but police could not know that I was a foreigner. Just checking driving licence, alco-test, not even asking for the residence card.

One time I was stopped by a group of very young police officers in Tokyo while going home and one elderly officer watching nearby told me, it's for training, they were ordered also to stop Japanese people riding bicycles, entering shops to introduce themselves and asking if there is any complaint, surely no bad intention.

So far, I was stopped only in Tokyo and Yokohama area, after retirement 5 years ago and moving to Okayama-ken it was never the case, not in rural area, not in Okayama-City, despite there are no Western foreigners living near my home.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

AntiquesavingApr. 10 08:11 pm JST

Not a single "pure" Japanese I know has ever been stopped as a "routine check".

I cannot confirm this, I have seen frequently Japanese police questioning Japanese people riding bicycles and motorcycles, young people in a group walking around in parks and also checking car drivers especially during late night going home from Tokyo to nearby cities.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm not sure if this counts, but around 5 years ago, I was stopped by the police 4 times in one month.

The first time, I got pulled over on my bike at a nearby shotengai, where they checked my ID and my bike. I was just going to McDonald's to get dinner for my family and me. I was asked by them, "Is this your bike?" I said, "Yes," and they checked my bike info. Mind you, there were other people (Japanese) riding bikes, too. I didn't do anything, but they checked my ID.

I walked near the local City Hall, where 2 police in suits asked for my ID. I showed my ID and they asked where I was going. I told them that I was going home. They asked how long I lived in Japan and where I worked. I told them, and they check it out with my school. They let me go.

Again, got pulled over by the police near a grocery store, where I was getting groceries. They did the exact same thing as the first time. They asked me how long I lived in Japan. I told them and they let me go.

This 4th time, (mind you, happened within a few days to a week apart from the past few times), I got pulled over on my bike going to McDonald's to get dinner. This time I was really upset and almost yelled at them. They checked my ID, my bike information, and asked where I was going. I told them in my broken Japanese, "Look, this is the 4th time in a month you stopped me. What did I really do. I pay my taxes, I am legal in this country, I didn't do anything wrong. WHAT DID I DO?" They told me, "Daijyoubu, daijyoubu. Shimpai wo shindaide." At that, I told them again in my broken Japanese, "This is foolish. Do you like it if I asked you for your ID?" At that, they bowed and apologized to me.

After that, they did not bother me again. I saw them a few minutes later after getting my McDonald's. Again, they apologized to me, and that was that.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Racial profiling of any kind is abhorrent. But, those of us who are Caucasian from Caucasian majority countries need to remember its as bad if not worse for POC in our native countries, especially in my own US, where “living while POC” can get you killed. I’ve tried to use this as a lesson in empathy.

What you need a lesson in is truthful statements. The lie that American police are hunting down blacks in the streets is not only laughably false, but a lie that perpetuates hatred of and disrespect for police officers that keep minority communities safe.


-1 ( +4 / -5 )

You foreigners choose to stay in Japan, so you need to accept how cops operate. If you want them to change, you should be naturalized in Japan and have the right to vote to change them. or you just have to adapt or leave Japan.

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Japan should be kicked out of any international justice convention, Hage, interpol, human rights associations,etc.

Japan cannot even understand the concept of equality or human rights.

-12 ( +2 / -14 )

Japan should be kicked out of any international justice convention, Hage, interpol, human rights associations,etc. Japan cannot even understand the concept of equality or human rights.

Then why do they live in the country which cannot even understand the concept of equality or human rights.? They should leave Japan.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

You foreigners choose to stay in Japan, so you need to accept how cops operate. 

No we don’t. That’s just silly. There is no rule nor expectation of this stated anywhere in our visa applications or rules.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Last time stopped by a cop was decades ago in Tokyo at night. He made it quick and thanked me. Seemed to have enjoyed my company. Never had any trouble in Kansai.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

No we don’t. That’s just silly. There is no rule nor expectation of this stated anywhere in our visa applications or rules

Japan is a country where many of the rules are unwritten and unstated. You run into these almost every day.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I came to Japan with my eyes open, knowing that I was a foreigner, knowing that the Japanese are suspicious of foreigners, and that Japan’s criminal justice system is the reverse of other developed countries. That being the case, I don’t have the right to criticize the way they do things here.

I live in Roppongi, and the police here can be especially hostile to foreigners, especially those of the darker persuasion. I don’t fault them much for their suspicions or their actions, they do catch a lot of people who are up to no good, and were the police not as vigilant Roppongi might not be a safe place to walk across at night.

I have had only one altercation with the police, I was stopped while riding my bicycle across Roppongi crossing at night with no headlight. The officer read the address on my drivers license and became quite friendly, “You are a local” be said, and let me go without another word.

As a veteran of law enforcement who worked several years in a large American inner city, seen the poverty, the bruises, the blood, and the bodies, I often think the Japanese approach to law enforcement would go a long way to reducing crime and getting bad people off the streets in America. There is no perfect approach to law enforcement, but through long experience I have learned that places which enforce laws strongly are safer and more prosperous than those which don’t.

I enjoy living in Japan because I can feel safe here without carrying a gun, that I don’t need two alarms for my car, that I don’t have to lock bicycles indoors, or worry about my kids getting into drugs in school. Japan’s harsh enforcement of its laws are one of the reasons Japan is such a safe and crime-free place. If I didn’t agree with the way things were done here, I would have left a long time ago.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Love Japan but was stopped regularly for walking while white in Downtown Tokyo and when I complained people always accused me of being a whiner. After a strange incident, Arakawa police admitted that they train young rookies by giving them “profiles” so they can have experience “interacting with the community” and somehow my description fit the list. Apparently, they did some internal paperwork and magically I was never stopped again after getting harassed on a regular basis. The problem is Japanese community policing is about identifying patterns that are out of the ordinary, and being a foreigner can be just that!

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

"....And being a foreigner can be just that!" But not in Kobe, not in Kansai. It appears to me that in Tokyo there is a culture of harassment. Specifically, of non-Japanese harassment.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Only questioned once in over 30 years living on large cities. ID confirmed and they were gone in a flash. No problem at all.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Horrific stat. support only one reason, profiling foreigners while sooner than later Japanese aging population need these foreigners helps at which time they should say to Japan, sayonara. Is it why Japanese princess and her common man husband gave up royal privileges to live in USA? Apparently they can't stand hypocrisy. Will I be censored after being critical of this fact/.stat.?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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